Paint the Town Red VR Review: Endless Decoration

When it comes to mindless cartoon violence in VR, Gorn has ruled the roost since 2019. But now there’s a new contender to the throne, Paint the Town Red VR. A VR port of South East Games’ popular flatscreen combat title, the same blood-gushing carnage remains. But this time with a slice of VR interactivity. Almost like throwing yourself into a Minecraft session with the settings on “B-Movie Gore”, Paint the Town Red VR offers a ton of content. Shame that it all becomes the same slash fest after a while.

Paint the Town Red VR doesn’t pretend to be anything it is not. The inhabitants might be square, voxel-based, stereotypical enemies straight out of an 80s film but the enormous amount of claret (and the multitude of killing options) is what this is all about. Make no mistake, extreme violence is the key to success, grabbing anything and everything to win the day.

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Gore, glorious gore!

Had a bad day at the office and want to vent? Then Paint the Town Red VR is for you. Grab a bottle and smash it over someone’s head, or how about a frying pan? Too plain and boring? Pick up a machete, a spear, or a gun or get creative with your fists, the choice is yours. You have free rein to deal with each situation however you like – unless you choose non-violence and peace, that won’t do. Most items in the game can be picked up and wielded yet a lot of it is quite fragile. So there’s no keeping hold of your favourite weapon, unfortunately.

Weapons are key here. Fists do work if you find yourself suddenly cornered but they require a lot of work. Furthermore, weapons offer a myriad of kill options. Decapitate an enemy, or use a gun to shoot out one leg only for them to get back up. The other reason for not using your fist is that contact feels spongy. All the enemies have a rag-doll effect, great when launching them with a bat. Not so much when trying to uppercut them.

As there’s no hud or inventory, you get a wonderfully uncluttered view of the world. This means you don’t need to pause or find a quiet corner to organise your stuff – like you’d have time to do that anyway. Everything is grab and go, a continual onslaught until the bitter end. Thankfully, all of this slaughtering unlocks special powerups like Shockwave, Smite and Stone Skin that can be unleashed in a pinch.

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Fill your boots at this brutal buffet

Paint the Town Red VR is split into three core sections, Scenarios, Beneath and Arena. The “Scenarios” mode is a collection of standalone levels set in locations like a bar, prison, disco, western saloon and more. The idea is to survive and kill everyone as fast as possible. Each scenario has its own unique items and weapons to employ. For example, the bar has stools to smash across drinkers’ heads or you can head into the kitchen for a knife. That’s not all, there are also 30+ modifiers to experiment with, making each scenario completely different.

The “Beneath” mode caters to all you roguelike fans. Adding a huge slice of narrative-based content to the game, here you can explore procedurally generated levels across six different biomes. Before doing so you’ll need to select one of five classes (Spectre, Warlock, Vanguard, Brawler and Corrupted). As you’d expect, they each provide different abilities and powers depending on your play style. For instance, the Vanguard is a great all-rounder, while the Corrupted is weak, surviving by draining the health of enemies. There’s a much larger selection of enemies to tackle down in the depths too From zombies and flying skulls to weird crystal crabs. As you delve deeper there are perks to unlock and upgrades available for your weapons in the shop. All of this is required to beat the Eldar God bosses you encounter en route.

Lastly, you have the Arena. The most self-explanatory of the three, all you need to do is survive waves of enemies. Take on five different challenges or go for broke in the “Endless Mode”.

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Endless violence

You’ve got to commend South East Games for the amount of content they jammed into Paint the Town Red VR. Some studios would’ve just been happy with the roguelike mode but not these guys. You’re getting a lot of blood for each buck when it comes to getting value for money. And let’s not forget the huge array of accessibility and gameplay options. Play seated or standing, use smooth locomotion or teleportation, smooth or snap turning, add a vignette, configure the velocity slider and more.

This should allow almost everyone to play. It is worth pointing out that although the visuals are cartoonish, the gore and violence are ferocious. Making it highly unsuitable for younger players.

Paint the Town Red VR Review Summary

For those looking for an extreme hack-n-slash, Paint the Town Red VR does its flatscreen heritage proud. There’s so much content that you’ll be entertained for hours and hours, testing each mode to its limit. But alone you will be. We’re reviewing the Meta Quest version which doesn’t feature any co-op, which is a shame because this is a game you could enjoy with your mates (it is worth noting that the SteamVR version lists co-op which we haven’t tried). Which makes the endless hours of content start to feel hollow and repetitive. I like the execution of Paint the Town Red VR and there will undoubtedly be those who will delight in its brand of lunacy, yet I struggle to truly love the mindlessness of it all.