The Red Solstice – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, RPG, Strategy, Early Access, Sci-Fi
Developer: Ironward
Publisher: Nkidu Games Inc.
Platforms: PC
Early Access Release: 10 July 2014
Expected Full Release: August 2014

The Red Solstice – Preview

Good: Inspiration by classics is clearly notable in the gameplay and visuals
Bad: Lag and framerate issues tend to make the game unplayable, voice-overs are terrible
User Score
(2 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

The Red Solstice is a multiplayer real-time strategy game currently in development by the Croatian indie game studio Ironward. Their project has been successfully funded on Kickstarter earlier this year and is now playable by the public via the means of Early Access.

the red solstice logo

In the year 117 After Earth, a huge storm dubbed as the Red Solstice has hit Mars. All communications with the capital Tharsis were lost and the Elysium Corporation suspected that it was not due to a power shortage. Something bad had happened to the human colonies when the Red Solstice had hit them. Gaining control of one of the eight space marines, you will need to find out exactly what happened. The story is actually quite short and will leave some room for your own imaginations but it does explain what you will need to do in the multiplayer games where you will find out more about the horrible fate of the residents of Tharsis.

As The Red Solstice is inspired by classics such as Starcraft and Dawn of War, the gameplay will remind you of same-like titles such as the Warcraft series. For now you can only play the multiplayer mode, which can be played with up to eight players in total. When hosting a game, there are several difficulty settings you can choose from. Recruit can be played with up to three players, Soldier is best played with six players while Veteran mode is best played with six to eight players. Additionally there is the Aetriden mode which is best played for six to eight veteran players. Note that the recruit difficulty is the easiest difficulty there is but it does not necessarily mean that the session will be easy. Next you can choose between two different gameplay modes. Survival mode is self-explanatory as you will need to survive fifteen waves of enemies with randomly generated side-line quests. The second mode is a mission mode where you will follow quests from the storyline but unfortunately this mode is not yet available.

the red solstice scr1

Each session will last about an hour, if you manage to survive for this long. During these sessions players can roam freely, scavenging buildings for lockers that may contain supplies such as medkits, magazines for various types of weaponry and other supplies that may help you survive the incoming waves of enemies. Finding the base and fortifying it once found is essential if you want to increase your survival chances.

There are eight types of marines available: Assault, Medic, Demolition, Recon, Heavy Support, Hellfire, Terminator and Marksman. All of these classes have their ups and downs, including their own type of weaponry. You can save several weapon presets but the loadout will automatically switch back to default after every game and every log-in. Additionally, you can unlock more types of weaponry such as primary weapons, secondary weapons, ammo types, components and power ups by gaining experience. Experience can be gained by actively playing the sessions so if you would like to increase your rank and specialty it is best not to idle. In total there are twenty-five levels to gain in ranks and ten levels in your specialty. Each level will reward you with extra health, armor, damage or armor regen. Having a higher level will decrease the difficulty of the sessions but as a newcomer, you will have a huge disadvantage.

the red solstice scr2

Visually the game is quite dark on its own. The slightly futurestique settings closely follows the Sci-Fi story of the Red Solstice. The graphical features, combined with the top-down RPG-based gameplay reminded me an awful lot of the Warcraft series, more specifically the third one and I’m sure it will remind you of any classic RPG-title that is gathering dust on your shelf.

As for the sound, the voice-acting could have been a lot better. I have nothing against voice-overs whatsoever but the male voice for the storyline in the intro, which you are faced with every time you start up the game, is slightly on the annoying side. Luckily you can skip this intro by entering which will lead you to the interface menu. The voice-over for T.A.R.A., the Tactical and Reconnaissance Administrator who will often speak during the gameplay sessions, is a softer female voice which will not make you hate yourself for having your sound on near full blast.

Early Access does not necessarily mean that there are bugs but in The Red Solstice there are plenty that need to be squatted. The first notable bug you can encounter is that there are some issues with the lobby connection and the matchmaking system which seems to be region-locked. Furthermore there is quite some lag to be faced and some serious framerate drops which can ruin several games for you.  Another bug is more of the graphical kind as enemies that have been recently killed tend to have convulsions. This bug seems to be unworthy of mentioning but it does make it harder to figure out whether or not you should shoot that specific enemy.

the red solstice sc3


The Red Solstice is a promising game with enough graphical and gameplay features that will remind you of several classics you may or may not have played. However, due to the framerate and lag issues, the game tends to be somewhat unplayable at certain hours. The Red Solstice starts to feel repetitive, even when playing with others on a regular base, due to the fact that you will always need to scavenge and do quests in the same map. Having only one game mode available only makes the repetitive feel bigger. However, besides all of this, the game can still go in many directions which can ultimately make the game not just fine but great.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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The Red Solstice - Preview, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Hi! I'm Jess and I’m a writer, dreamer and gamer at heart since the early ages. I primarily game on PC but occasionally also on PS4 and Xbox One. I have a tiny obsession for World of Warcraft and caterpillars but you may also claim I have a devoted passion for the gaming industry in general. If you want to hit me up, find me on twitter!

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