Review – Red Tape

Many books, religious interpretations, movies and games have tried to explain or come up with potential ideas as to how Hell would actually look and feel. Sure, there is a consensus on it being the final stop for eternal damnation and suffering, but lots of different kinds of Hell have been described over the years. It’s time to add a new one to the mix. Thanks to the folks at the Brazilian indie team Pollaris Studios, we now have one of the scariest versions of Hell ever put into an art form: a bureaucratic office building. This is the main premise behind Red Tape.

Red Tape Virgil

Putting the COMEDY in Divine Comedy.

In Red Tape, you play as an Angel who has just fallen from grace, straight into the depths of (corporate) Hell. First of all, kudos for actually showing an Angel how scriptures actually describe them. Instead of a beautiful clone of Pit from Kid Icarus, you start off as a winged blob full of eyes, straight out of a Lovecraftian nightmare. Upon reaching hell, you earn a new demonic body (as in, a normal dude in a suit), and you begin your new journey fighting against bureaucracy and the corporate ladder.

Red Tape Hellcome

I firmly believe Hell is plastered with messages written in old-school WordArt.

In order to do that, you basically have to act like everybody’s intern, and by that I mean that you’re going to do a ton of boring and menial work for your superiors. Maybe you’ll be told to use the copy machine, or grab someone a cup of coffee… or convince people from the feeding department that letting the cook remove their legs is vital for the entire company to have something to eat for the following day. This is Red Tape‘s biggest strength AND its biggest flaw: it’s a monstrously mundane game, but that’s the intention. That’s the punchline. Yet, somehow, against all odds, it works.

Red Tape Elevator

What a missed opportunity. Human Resources should have been the ninth circle of Hell, without a doubt.

I won’t deny that walking back and forth between all nine floors of the office building (this game’s way of symbolizing the nine circles of Hell) is infuriatingly repetitive, but the humorous premise, decent script, and wacky presentation, comprised of low-poly environments populated by cardboard cutouts of famous “celebrities” like Cleopatra and Virgil, made me want to play Red Tape until the very end. It’s really silly, but the jokes felt somewhat clever, in a quasi Monty Python vibe. It also helps that the game is over in just a few hours. It doesn’t outstay its welcome. A few more hours of hopping between floors would have made me go literally insane. Maybe that was the point all along.

Red Tape Beelzebub

He was kinda nice, not gonna lie.

Red Tape is a really tedious and mundane game… and weirdly enough, that’s why I actually kinda liked it. The joke was turning Hell into a boring and bureaucratic office building where you’re told to spend the rest of eternity as an intern doing pointless jobs, and against all odds, the joke landed. The fact the game was short and, oddly enough, somewhat visually appealing, also did help a bit. It’s not for everyone, and there are other office-like comedic games that are way more enjoyable, but for the minuscule price tag the publisher is asking for, you could do a hell of a lot worse.


Graphics: 7.0

Cheap but really charming. The low-poly environments contrasted well with the sentient cardboard cutouts the game considers to be NPCs.

Gameplay: 5.0

The gameplay is as bureaucratic and repetitive as working inside an office would feel like. Yes, it’s boring, and the constant back-and-forth through the many floors annoyed me after a while, but the premise somewhat made up for it at the end of the day. It was part of the joke, I suppose.

Sound: 5.5

The sound is quite sparse. A bit of elevator music, a few sound effects, a handful of Banjo-Kazooie-esque voice grunts, and there ya have it.

Fun Factor: 8.0

The corporate Hell featured in Red Tape is intentionally monotonous, full of meandering and bureaucracy. It’s a silly game, but one I ended up enjoying, to my surprise.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Red Tape is available now on PC.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Red Tape was provided by the publisher.