Rad Rodgers is advertised as a combination of sorts to adult humor games like Conker’s Bad Fur Day and the old 2D shareware games of the past such as Commander Keen and Jazz the Jackrabbit. I fondly remember playing those old PC games when I was a kid and thinking that they were a lot of fun, but that’s not the case here. It’s weird because the game actually plays very well and I found myself getting lost in that a few times but there were so many surrounding elements which were just not that great.
The game claims to have an adult humor to it but I am constantly tempted to label it as juvenile. Most of the innuendos and dick and fart jokes are just so in your face and ham fisted that rather than laughing I was questioning why they had to be forced in there at all. Before you even start the first level your sidekick Dusty makes a comment about liking it tight which cringingly sets the tone for the rest of the adventure. There were a couple instances where references were made to self aware video game conventions or other popular franchises that made me smile but I still wasn’t laughing.
It all begins in Rad Rodgers bedroom while he is playing video games when his mom enters telling him to turn them off, brush his teeth and go to bed because he has school in the morning. Obviously he comments that he hates school and goes to bed without actually brushing his teeth because you know, he’s edgy. As he is drifting off to sleep the TV turns on by itself and sucks him into the game world, not the most original concept but it provides as much motivation as any old school platformer ever had or needed. I did enjoy the irony of Dusty commenting how cool stuff doesn’t happen when you listen to your parents, even though this happened as Rad was going to sleep like his mother had told him to.
Back to the comment about the gameplay being good. Aside from a bit of a delay when firing the base weapon, almost like a chain gun in other shooters that’s warming up, everything works as it is supposed to. You get used to the actual shooting and the running and jumping all work quite well actually. The instances where I had cleared all of the enemies from a level and was just exploring for the many collectibles and cosmetics hats, I was quite entranced.
Combat on the other hand becomes quite arbitrary when you figure out that there are only five enemy types and that their AI is lacking. If they aren’t just running head first into you, they are standing in place throwing projectiles or pointlessly jumping up and down waiting for you to finish them off. Playing on hard will make you try a bit more since the enemies will take twice as long to defeat and you will have all of the resistance of a broken eggshell but I still wouldn’t classify it as overly challenging. The only exception would be the boss fights which possess actual AI, requirements for pattern recognition and a difficulty spike that your adventure up until that point did not prepare you for.
When you pick up a collectible, shoot an enemy or use special ammo they all sound right. A quick side note about the special ammo, when the grenade launcher rounds explode they appear like the old 60s Batman sitcom with words written in them like pow and kaboom. The voice actors themselves sound great, my complaint really just goes back to the content they are working with.
Graphically this title reminds me of the recent Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams game from a style standpoint. I generally enjoy that because of the cartoony nature with the deep colour palette. The issues however, arise when a lot is happening on screen and the assets seemingly blur into one another and get kind of muddled. Hard lines around the images like in a cell shaded game would have really helped to clear this up and would have probably given the game a bit more of a pop in the visuals department. Still, it’s an overall success.
Originally released as Rad Rodgers: World One on PC after a successful kickstarter campaign, the console release drops the subtitle all together. This move seems to imply that there is going to be a lot more to the game this time around but they only really added 5 new levels, 2 mini bosses and the collectible hats in the way of content. Unfortunately it does not prevent the feeling of the game being incomplete.
For a game with a budget price and a fairly short run time, I am still at a bit of a loss as to who to recommend it to. It feels like the target audience would be those people that played the old 2D platformers and have now grown up with video games but at the same time the humour almost suggests that it would be better served for a more juvenile audience that unfortunately might not have the same appreciation for the genre. If you like games where you can run around the levels exploring for the many collectibles, which again I even found myself getting lost in a few times, then yeah it’s worth picking up but otherwise I would just pass in favour of better platformers.
A review copy of the game was provided for the PS4 by the publisher