The Red Lantern (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Steven Mattern 07.01.2021

Review for The Red Lantern on Nintendo Switch

It's safe to say that indie games seemed to hit their stride in the Xbox Live Arcade back in the Xbox 360 generation. Since then, it has thrived through other means since the Live Arcade moniker died with the arrival of the Eighth generation of home video game consoles. This is worth mentioning because the indie scene has a certain charm to it in most smaller titles. The Red Lantern carries such charm and is a good first project by fresh developer Timberline Studio Inc.

The Red Lantern revolves around a character tired of the city life, and wanting an escape from the hustle and bustle. She decides to take a team of five sled dogs from a selectable roster of nine and venture out into the frozen wilds to reach their new home. Each dog has their own look and personality that lends itself fine enough in gameplay. A simple premise no doubt, in a game that will likely net five to six hours of time. Red Lantern is a Rogue Lite of sorts, where you can fail on your journey and try once more. In addition, the game adopts a 'choose your own adventure' format where you select from options instead of moving the protagonist or steer the sled manually.

Unfortunately, the more runs you attempt, the limitations of the game start to show more and more. The biggest limitation from run to run is perhaps the dialogue in the game. The voice actress for the role happens to be none other than Ashly Burch, and she does a serviceable job. The issue here is that the games events often repeat themselves. You'll often hear the same voice lines when certain events crop up time and time again on the journey such as hunting an animal for food or a more hostile encounter. This can make failed runs quite demoralising as you go through the same paces constantly. However, a successful trek through the wild gives a great sense of relief. Alas this issue of repetition is especially apparent since the same team of five dogs are with you every step through every run until completion.

Screenshot for The Red Lantern on Nintendo Switch

In reality, the dogs are the stars of the show. They each have their own personality and possible random events tied to them. For example, one husky can have a keen sense of smell but can lead you astray. It seems to be that the events tied to the dogs themselves may seem tied to randomness, but that doesn't appear to be. If one of them makes a mistake at the first go around, it's likely that they will make it again once you start another. This gives off the impression of the dogs being very one note but there is a bit of development in the relationship beyond that mistake. Thankfully, you can set up camp to rest and eat at most points to recover from mishaps and take stock of your remaining food for energy, medical kits, and bullets for hunting. All the while, camping allows a moment to pet your pals.

Along with the canine crew, the game's art style itself has its moments to shine. The Red Lantern has a day and night cycle. The sunsets in particular look stunning with a nice blend of yellow and orange as the journey progresses. The environment overall has a simple yet smooth look to it. The same however cannot be said for the animations. The animals can be very stiff in their movement.

Screenshot for The Red Lantern on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The Red Lantern has the certain indie game charm one may expect. Timberline Studio Inc. makes a decent first effort with a simple premise, good 'choose your own adventure' structure, and a cast of diverse dogs for your crew of five with a beautiful day and night cycle to top it off. Unfortunately, the title suffers from some dialogue and choice repetition and a few bugs or animations that could use some improvement.


Timberline Studio


Timberline Studio





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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