The Red Lantern Image
Metascore
65

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
3.9

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 7 Ratings

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  • Summary: The Red Lantern is a story-driven, rogue-lite, survival game where you and your team of 5 sled dogs, lost in the wilderness, must navigate the ever-changing encounters of the Alaskan bush to find your way home. Features:
    - A dynamic world that changes as you play
    - Nearly 100 different
    The Red Lantern is a story-driven, rogue-lite, survival game where you and your team of 5 sled dogs, lost in the wilderness, must navigate the ever-changing encounters of the Alaskan bush to find your way home. Features:
    - A dynamic world that changes as you play
    - Nearly 100 different encounters each with varied results
    - Gain items and upgrades as you discover things about the world around you
    - 8 different pups to add to your team, each with their own personalities.
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The Red Lantern Is Oregon Trail With Sled Dogs | PAX East 2020 Gameplay
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. Nintendo Force Magazine
    May 17, 2021
    85
    The pioneering protagonist is portrayed by the acclaimed Ashly Burch, and her vocal performance earnestly sells the entire premise. [Issue #51 – March/April 2021, p. 28]
  2. Oct 27, 2020
    80
    Overall, The Red Lantern is a stunning game that offers a juxtaposition of being both a calming experience and one that can inspire a level of anxiety due to the more randomized nature of the mechanics. Watching that meter drop and feeling hope drop down with it can sometimes feel like a punch to the gut, but eventually a rhythm is found and relaxing around a campfire with a full belly, a warm fire, and adorable furry friends more than makes up for those dips in euphoria.
  3. 75
    Overall The Red Lantern is worth your time if you have an interest in the outdoors, a lust for adventure in the unknown, or just want to pet some fluffy sled dogs.
  4. Oct 27, 2020
    60
    Timberline Studio's debut game holds a lot of promise, with writing and animations that are both full to the brim with personality and wit. However, The Red Lantern's core game loop suffers from repetitive, punishingly random events that make the player feel passive and helpless to the whims of fate.
  5. Feb 11, 2021
    60
    The Red Lantern is a survival game that gets some things right...and some things wrong. This is a game where players can marvel at the beauty of the Alaskan landscape, portrayed with stunning detail, and the characters' animation is executed with a great degree of authenticity. At the same time, the gameplay experience is constricting as the player has very little control over what happens, and the survival mechanisms end up too dependent on sheer luck, which raises the difficulty level to very frustrating levels.
  6. Nov 25, 2020
    55
    I hoped The Red Lantern would grow on me with subsequent playthroughs, but, unfortunately the opposite was true due to the technical problems, design issues and repetitive dialogue. Those looking for a trip through Alaska or wanting to revisit bittersweet memories of traveling to Oregon, might want to check it out, but anyone on the hunt for a narrative-driven roguelite should skip it.
  7. 30
    I know it's a tough gig being a game developer when hours played is a key metric and the pundits bleat on about content rather than things that are actually important, like thematic intensity or narrative depth. Taking something that could have been something special and diluting it to give those pundits something to throw onto their backlog isn't going to help video games develop as an art form, though. The Red Lantern upset me more than most; most games aren't made by people with the vaguest understanding of art. The Red Lantern, however, clearly is the concept of artists and the vision is compelling. Next time they should try delivering a game that supports the vision, rather than what they think will boost the Metacritic score.

See all 14 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 4
  2. Negative: 3 out of 4
  1. Oct 27, 2020
    5
    When The Red Lantern's first trailer dropped over a year ago, I was emotionally invested in its character-driven story. The trailer emoted aWhen The Red Lantern's first trailer dropped over a year ago, I was emotionally invested in its character-driven story. The trailer emoted a relatable and endearing tale of finding oneself. Upon the game's release, though, it was to my disappointment that the game's narrative and gameplay did not deliver.

    The story is fairly shallow. For games to win the player's heart, it often takes considerable time and carefully scripted events. The Red Lantern's short playtime did not enable such investment. It should be noted, though, that The Musher's solid voice acting did a phenomenal job in connecting the player to the world and gameplay.

    In terms of such gameplay, the rogue-light progression system is mechanically shallow. The Red Lantern's frozen trails of Alaska did not offer enough variety in their procedurally generated events. As a result, the game quickly becomes a matter of "Which event will I see again?" Its enrapturing visual style and atmospheric music cannot alleviate such gameplay concerns.

    The game takes 2-3 hours to complete, and there is are not many meaningful elements that encourage repeat playthroughs. As a result, the $25 price tag seems rather insulting. Despite these flaws, the doggos are undeniably adorable, each with a unique personality and set of behaviors.
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  2. Oct 24, 2020
    3
    The Red Lantern has a neat artstyle and a wonderful idea. The concept of a survival-dog sledding game is downright brilliant and the settingThe Red Lantern has a neat artstyle and a wonderful idea. The concept of a survival-dog sledding game is downright brilliant and the setting of the Alaskan Brush is perfect. And yet the game feels like a The Long Dark for poor people. The concept of a trial and error survival game is abysmal. Survival isn't about reseting and trying again. Either you survive or you die. The gameplay is lackluster resulting in a boring rollercoster ride with occasional events that do little other than annoy you. You can't interact with the world properly and it feels like a privilaged persons fantasy of what surviving in the wild is like. Additionally the main character is annoying and unnecessary. She constantly complains and whines at every hardship and yet doesn't think it wise to bring more than 5 Bullets or firestarters on a **** survival trip. Any emotional impact the dogs have is destroyed by the repeating nature of the game. Overall I wouldn't recommend it unless it goes on a hard discount. Expand
  3. Oct 31, 2020
    3
    I'm into immersive games and was drawn to The Red Lantern despite the mediocre to bad reviews. I often encountered experimental games thatI'm into immersive games and was drawn to The Red Lantern despite the mediocre to bad reviews. I often encountered experimental games that didn't get perfect scores from our dopamine- and realistic graphics-addicted reviewer crowd, but that left such a deep impression on me that I still think about them or replay them sometimes (like Wanderlust: Travel Stories, Firewatch, State of Mind, or The Way).

    So I took the same risk with The Red Lantern, but unfortunately ended up quite disappointed by it. The graphics and sound design is actually really good, beautiful and and the game feels immersive, as the trailers show. Though I guess the devs fell in love with the fact that they had some nice graphical design, and didn't feel the need to add an actually good or fun game to those beautiful graphics.

    What the trailer won't show you is that the game is completely on rails. You only have the choice between left and right at forks in the road. There is a set of random events that get repetitive soon. Random is fine because it is a roguelike (another lazy game design decision, but hey, it can turn out good given some effort, and the idea to integrate it more with storytelling seems nice), but their encounter rates seem to be badly aligned with ensuring that the game is actually fun and playable.

    Some of those events are apparently supposed to touch you, like looking into the eyes of a sweet elk when you are about to shoot it. This doesn't work out at all though since, as soon as you realize that your whiny protagonist brought virtually no food, you can't help but take any chance to kill any beautiful animal you encounter (as long as those 3 bullets last).

    Given the bad encounter rates the game becomes so hard that apparently they added a function that will 'reward you for failure', e.g. your protagonist will pack more food if you starved. For me this just made the experience even more frustrating.

    That praised voice acting is nice in the beginning, but the stereotypical 'insecure US-American woman that wants to get back to her prozac' tone and writing gets on your nerves quite soon after you have heard the same line for the x-th time. I ended up turning off the voiceover, which interestingly made the experience better. Also the music loop is ridiculously short and gets old fast.

    The game is obviously barely tested, after the first patch I still encountered a lot of obvious bugs like the volume sliders being set to 0 with every new run. The devs now asked their customers on Twitter to submit bugs to them, virtually asking them to betatest their game. One more point deducted for this. I'm obviously quite disappointed, but will change this review in case some future update manages to make this an actually good gaming experience. Right now it feels like some alpha version thrown into the market far too early. It has the potential and requirements to be really enjoyable, but is far away from it right now.. If you still consider buying this, definitely check out some longplay videos first to see whether this is for you.
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  4. Apr 15, 2021
    1
    To even call this a game feels dishonest. Any establishment reviewer giving this over 70% (looking at you, Game Informer andTo even call this a game feels dishonest. Any establishment reviewer giving this over 70% (looking at you, Game Informer and NintendoWorldReport) is flat-out lying for money. Anybody giving it over 60% isn't being very fair, either. Expand