Rad Rodgers Review
After earning just over $80,000 on Kickstarter in October 2016, Rad Rodgers came out on PC two months later following an early access phase. With the aim of paying homage to the platform games of the 90s, the Danish studio Slipgate (formerly Interceptor Entertainment) was inspired by series such as Commander Keen, Conker, JackRabbit Jazz or Ruff ‘n’ Tumble. Since then acquired by THQ Nordic, now the dreamy young boy and his old console land on PS4 and Xbox One with their vulgar (but totally assumed) humor. All this, with additional levels and some additional features.
DO NOT LISTEN TO YOUR PARENTS AND COOL S *** HAPPENS!
The young Rad, whose real name is Ricardo Rodriguez, is a child keen on video games. One night, our hero’s TV and his console light up, not only waking him up. After some quick dialogue, he ends up being pulled in by the TV screen and into a video game. His old generation console named Dusty, old machine with salacious humor and foul language, explains to him then that the sacred tree is not doing too well and that the creatures that populate this world are somewhat crazy. Our adventure starts like this, just after Rad gets a big gun.
And the first thing that strikes is obviously the humor, more than doubtful, but omnipresent in the title. Between the gritty remarks of Dusty and the comments of NPCs, the game multiplies references to the world of video games (Zelda, Mario or Blast Processing). In addition to mentions of sex and drugs, some dialogues will not fail to make us smile or even giggle for the most absurd or trash tirades. The developers do not hide being inspired by Rick and Morty and and have even paid Jon St John for the voice acting of Dusty, recognized for having lent his voice to Duke Nukem.The fourth wall is also constantly reduced to pieces as the characters are aware of being in a game (“Lazy developers!”). Not very subtle, but we like it!
RUN OR GUN?
With his weapon, the young boy will be able to shoot everything around him. Apart from the only jump Rad has (I’m still hoping to unlock a double jump eventually), Dusty will be able to strike enemies with a melee hit with a bit of his pixel gauge and cling to some elements to help Rad reach some higher areas. A trigger also locks enemies and the right stick gives us the ability to aim accurately without necessarily moving. Simple gameplay and maneuverability available for skills that will not evolve with our progress outside the different weapons that can be picked up.That said, the two commands mentioned previously (locker and aim) tend to give it a more modern look than we could expect. The atmosphere is in any case enough to feel like we have an arcade controller in our hands. The dozen or so levels to complete combine shooting and platform while doting on exploration.
As mentioned above, new weapons can be picked up, and Rad will be able to find a number of them along the way, although ammunition is limited: rapid fire, laser, grenade, flamethrower… If with auto-lock, the requirement for precision is less, the efficiency and the Firepower of some of them will not fail to be really useful against the biggest mobs. On the other hand, progressing in the game, you quickly realize that the best way to eliminate enemies is to stay in a safe area to shoot them by jumping to avoid projectiles.Too bad for a title that claims to tap into the run and gun, especially since the AI enemies does not help. Some of them, the big red ones in particular, will stay two meters from us at times to spam their melee attack or simply to do nothing. Take a single step back and those same red enemies will return to attacking you repeatedly before wandering off again. A rather random behavior that makes it more practical to keep the mob at the edge of the screen to kill it without giving it the chance to fight back.
AN ATTRACTIVE COURSE
Platform-wise, if the title has not invented anything, which seems logical given its inspirations, we can still see that these phases have the merit of being quite varied, including a rather efficient level-design. With 4 tokens to find to complete each level, the latter, rather long, are not always linear in their construction and can sometimes show a certain verticality. The secret areas, hats, lives and other bonuses to be found will encourage you to search and try some hazardous leaps. It must also be said that these sparkling environments are very pleasing to the eye in artistic terms.The bright and saturated colors (maybe too much for some) make everything very warm and quite alive. Although we are mainly in forest and exotic settings, they are pretty good at renewing themselves (marsh, waterfall, cave, ruins…) and benefit from rather inspired designs. The vintage soundtrack mixing synthwave and punchy rock goes well enough over the action. The game also has a pretty nice photo mode that lets you move the camera through the textures and observe the Out of Bounds environments.
The mix between shoot, platform and exploration, diluted by the passages in the Pixelverse, will in any case give a good rhythm to the adventure and thus avoids any feeling of redundancy for an overall fun experience. But it must be admitted, in addition to being very short with its eight levels, the game is a little too easy, except at the end. It will be able to loop in a small afternoon in a straight line, and this, despite the addition of additional levels. Completists and other fans of challenge will perhaps exceed ten hours by trying to finish each level at 100% or by falling back on the hard mode, which also removes self-lock and gives the game a side twin-stick shooter. It should be noted, however, that it is rather unfortunate to have to delete his game to start a new one.
The mix between shoot, platform and exploration, diluted by the occasional trips into the Pixelverse, will in any case give a good rhythm to the adventure and thus avoid any feeling of redundancy for an overall fun experience. But it must be admitted, in addition to being somewhat short, the game can be a bit too easy, except at the end. The most hardcore players will be able to complete it in half a day of non-stop playing, and this, despite the addition of additional levels. Completists and other fans of challenge will perhaps exceed ten hours by trying to finish each level at 100% or by trying out the hard mode, which also removes self-lock and gives the game twin-stick shooter identity.