Title: Christopher Brookmyre’s Bedlam
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: RedBedlam Ltd.
Publisher: RedBedlam Ltd.
Release date: Out now
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Bedlam was written by Christopher Brookmyre, a famed longtime writer with eighteen published novels under his belt. Bedlam was originally one of his books which was turned into a game by RedBedlam. This tells the story of Heather Quinn, a.k.a. Athena, who is unfortunately trapped in a world of video games. Not too keen on living in a digital world, our heroine is desperate to find her way home. Will she make it out alive?


The game plays like a standard type FPS. Shoot, run and duck your way through the different virtual environments. As with any FPS game, you’ll have access to a wide array of tools of mass destruction. While you start out with a generic pistol, you’ll quickly pick up stronger fire power –  a shotgun, mini-gun or even a nice little rocket launcher. One very important little detail missing from this is the ability to manually reload your weapon  This means that you either waste the last few bullets you have so you reload automatically, or you’ll be a bullet sponge while the automatic reload goes. Another little pitfall: once your current weapon is out of ammo, the game won’t automatically equip the next fully loaded one. True, it’s a bit of a privilege to have games automatically switched to a full weapon, but it will be the cause of frustrating and unnecessary deaths.

Luckily, to help you survive this virtual world, Athena can pick up health kits and armour in order to boost herself up. And boy do you need them. Even on the Easy difficulty setting, a mere few shots from middle to close range will send you back to the latest checkpoint. Speaking of checkpoints, respawing will not result in a full health bar. If you’re stuck in a specific section with little to no health, you’ll have to start over the chapter altogether in order to reach that checkpoint with more health.


And things don’t get better as the game features incredibly sensitive controls. Barely touching the joystick will make you shoot way off target, making things frustrating when trying to gun down a flying enemy. Furthermore, you can’t even zoom in on your shots like most FPS games; another major misstep. You don’t stay crouched. so trying to sneak around enemies is not an option. limiting the ways you can play the game. They did try to make things interesting by adding FPS-like multiplayer modes in the game itself, by having a deathmatch or king of the hill as a chapter section. Although it mixes things up a bit, it won’t make things more enjoyable. To make things worse, respawing in the deathmatch has you LOSING kills. So if you’re at 14 out of the 15 required kills and you die twice, you’re down to 12, making the tedious gameplay last longer.

Interestingly enough, RedBedlam went a different route with the visuals. While we’re more accustomed to more realistic settings for the FPS, the developer decided to go the Minecraft route/ It is, after all, set in a virtual gaming environment. Even enemies and blood spill are blocky, which is somewhat funny for the first few levels. It’s nice touch, but doesn’t excuse the rest of the game. The game also features voiceovers, and laughable ones at that. Every actor sounds forced and doesn’t hit the right pitch.


Unfortunately, this FPS falls more flat than a pancake. Although the visuals are fun and an interesting take on the mostly realistic FPS genre, it’s pretty much the only thing enjoyable about it. Laughable voiceovers, too sensitive controls, lack of manual reload, boring soundtrack – Christopher Brookmyre’s Bedlam feels a bad joke someone try to pull off as a real thing. I will admit, however, if the premise was handled much more seriously under different circumstances, it could’ve been something interesting. Unfortunately, as it stands, just pass on this one. Unless you have money to throw away. I’m pretty sure a dedicated Minecraft player could build something more consistent and fun.

The Good

  • Interesting Minecraft-like visuals
  • Fun bosses

The Bad

  • Laughable voiceovers
  • No manual reload
  • Just plain boring

Family Focus

Bedlam is for the adult gamers of your household as it features violence and blood.


Code provided courtesy of Xbox UK