RAD is a very peculiar game. From its aesthetics to the game mechanics, the title is quite unique. This is no surprise if we see who the developer is. RAD comes from Double Fine Productions and Bandai Namco. They are famous for their highly original and personality games. RAD does not fall far from that premise. Will the radical effect of RAD keep us entertained for a good amount of time? Let’s find out in this RAD Review!
RAD and its world
RAD is a Roguelike game, this means that in its great majority all the scenarios visited are randomly generated and when you die, you lose all your equipment and powers. We will try not to get into much of the story in this RAD review. Although, it is easy to follow and fits like a ring to the finger with the genre that the game has as a mold. In this world, which has gone through not one, but two apocalypses, trust for the future is placed in the young. The “Menders” have created machines to sustain life in this landfill full of radiation, mutants, and destruction. After such a long time, there is no longer enough energy to survive, and it is the duty of the youth to go to hostile territories and renew those sources of power for their people.
With this story, the Roguelike part of the game begins, every time you go into the unknown to save your people and fail, you lose all the progress you had, all the skills you get and a portion of your money (represented by cassettes the 80). Despite this constant repetition, I guarantee you won’t get bored. Each time you resume your game, each level is different. With this I do not say that there are slight changes, it is totally different. Each new game positions the enemies, the environment, the terrain, and even the skills you acquire completely randomly. Once you start, you realize that it’s like playing a whole new level. This makes returning for more RAD a fairly easy choice to make.
A little more radiation, yes?
Let’s talk about the gameplay now. Things are not very complicated here and RAD makes everything easy for you. You have three basic attacks. One with your faithful weapon melee, which at the beginning is a baseball bat, you can jump and hit with an air kick and finally jump and fall sharply on your enemies leaving them baffled and open for an attack for a moment. Before leaving, the old leader of your town has given you, through a ritual that involves an electric keyboard guitar, the ability to absorb radiation from all mutants that you find as enemies. By gradually eliminating enemies you can fill a bar, once is completely full it gives you a mutation. These mutations can be from having a cobra head that can carry out ranged attacks, firing your own head in flames like a bomb, having a pincer as an arm. Anyway, a multitude of skills.
These random mutations can sometimes be very useful and some, well, not as much as I would like. This depends on each player and their gameplay style. by being mostly all random game components, you can feel that the first level and its boss were very easy and then find that the second level offers so many enemies that you die in the first minutes. This is normal in RAD, the possibility of losing everything is always within reach. For this RAD review, I died a lot, and I mean, A LOT.
Very easy? Very difficult? Do not worry!
RAD, input, is not an easy game. Not because it has complicated mechanics or because you have a lot to understand. It is because of the fact that you have to learn to be patient and master both your attacks and your mutations. I was initially surprised because the game and its controls seem to be as simple as possible. However, within that simplicity, you have to know the exact moment to attack, use one of your mutations and evade. I loved the fact that every mutation and every time you play the threat level can change and your gameplay style will have to adapt the skills you have available and ever-changing enemies.
Despite the degree of difficulty, RAD offers you the ability to control, to some degree, the level of challenge your character faces. You can apply a modifier to the game to make things more complicated or you can select several options to make each game session a bit easier. For example, while working on this RAD review, we used one of the modifiers. For instance, you can start a game with a start range mutation. This is EXTREMELY useful if you feel the difficulty is a lot from the beginning. The good thing about this is that the game never reaches a point where it is impossibly difficult, or that is ridiculously easy. There is always a level of challenge.
RADical Design and Art
If something has RAD it is personality. From a narrator who, with a deep and epic voice, comments on several actions from both the menus and the gameplay, to a CRT-style filter for the main menu. The art direction is totally RADICAL. Each stage is full of details and humor. The game has the DNA of Double Fine in all its glory. The dialogues cause a lot of laughter despite being a subject as sensitive as the extermination of humanity, twice. The colors are vibrant and each scenario brings with it the occasional detail that makes it unique and special. Everything feels very neon and eighties.
The audio is great. The music is quite addictive. It reminded me a lot of moments of Stranger Things and other series and movies set at this time. Going back to each stage and listening to the excellent soundtrack is quite satisfying.
RAD complies with everything a Roguelike should accomplish. Not only achieves that task, but it adds that peculiar style of Double Fine and elevates the genre to give us an excellent game. Like all Roguelikes, there is always a lot of random elements and this is probably not for the impatient type of person. However, despite this, RAD always manages to thrill on every new lap you start through the desolate lands of the mutants. Despite playing for a long time, I will gladly return for more.
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Speaking about retro games, check out our Vasara Collection Review.