The Red Strings Club (PC) Review

By Adam Riley 22.01.2018

Review for The Red Strings Club on PC

There have been some absolutely fantastic point and click adventures that have been built with a purposeful retro style, most of which are made using the Adventure Game Studio (AGS). This is not one of them. Forget the superb Blackwell series, or the cyberpunk thrills of Technobabylon, or sublime character switching antics of Resonance. The Red Strings Club is more of a text-driven, long and drawn out attempt at a social message, tied together by some mind numbing attempts at puzzles.

First off, the only pointing and clicking done for the majority of The Red Strings Club will really be for skipping through the large amounts of text thrown at you right from the off. Other than that, in-between listening to the obvious point that the two lead characters - a bartender and super hacker - are clearly in love with each other (something so lacking in subtlety it becomes cringe-worthy, especially towards the end where the classic "I love you" line saves someone… What next? A gentle tear to resurrect the dead?), there are some extremely clunky attempts at challenging gamers with mundane tasks.

Screenshot for The Red Strings Club on PC

Want to play hacker yourself and change the personality of industry bigwigs to mess with "the system"? Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, no. Instead, it starts off with having to scroll through a list of personality types to install into their minds, with each new one found needing to be…modelled out of clay. Yes, the cursor can be changed to different shapes and then carefully moved around to shave chunks off and form specific objects. Oh, not before having to hammer the left mouse button like crazy to actually spin the pottery wheel first.

What other delights are in store for players of The Red Strings Club? Ah yes, quizzes. Everyone loves a good quiz. Except when it is filled with pointless questions that require guesswork most of the time, and reward with nothing particularly interesting should you manage to actually fluke your way to a score of more than 7/10. It is even worse when it bears no relevance to proceedings, making it pure padding to fill out what is already quite a short experience.

Screenshot for The Red Strings Club on PC

What follows is more text, as character after character enters the bar to chat with the bartender (yes, there is no travelling around here) who has special powers and can change people's moods by mixing special cocktails. Oh, and guess what? YOU get to make the cocktails! Yes, in another exercise of patience, bottles with different directional arrows must be carefully picked up and poured, mixing the right combination into a glass (or mixer later on, complete with mouse-driven shaking required…) to move the on-screen marker around to fit over whatever emotion's shape is hovering around the customer. Throw in some ice to change the size of the marker, and away you go… Mood changed, back to the questioning section, hoping to draw information from the drinker… All being characters that are hardly developed, leaving no connection with the player at all.

Screenshot for The Red Strings Club on PC

More questions for the player to deal with, more social messages being pushed via the not particularly gripping writing, and then a game of cat and mouse, trying to talk someone down and stop them from shooting you. Lower their guard, move forwards, spook them, move backwards… Want to cheat? Just hack them and give some sedation. There is never any fear of failure, and also no enjoyment in succeeding, leading up to one of the worst finales ever - sitting around dialling random phone numbers, using various 'hacked' voices of the characters met at the bar earlier in the story to garner key information to do one last hack and 'save the world.' If it all sounds trite, uninspiring, and downright boring, it is simply because that is exactly what The Red Strings Club is.

Screenshot for The Red Strings Club on PC

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

Sadly, The Red Strings Club will fool some into thinking it follows in the footsteps of classics from WadjetEye Games purely because of its aesthetics. Do not be mistaken, though. This is not a patch on any of that company's releases, nor is it affiliated with it at all. Instead, this takes an intriguing style and theme of the world gone mad for technology, mixes in some extremely random love story between the lead duo of hacker and bartender that bears no relevance to the underlying tale, adds in a heavy dose of some of the most painful attempts at puzzles, and then perfectly tops it all off with an overly wordy script filled with too much padding.

Developer

Deconstructeam

Publisher

Devolver Digital

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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