Imagine a world which has ended. Now imagine a world which has ended twice. As you can imagine, life would be pretty tough. Well in Double Fines RAD, life is tough. Your town is losing power, adults have all but disappeared and it’s up to you to save the people in this 80’s inspired rogue-like.
You play as a teenager and before starting on your first run you must pick which style of teenager you wish to play as. Overall you can choose from a total of 8, but during the beginning of the game you only have 3 options to start with, all with the same basic abilities. Your journey is simple, find a prewar power source to ensure your camp survives.
The world outside your town is extremely dangerous. Traversing through a radioactive wasteland is sure to do some damage to you innards, luckily you’ve been given the ability absorb the worlds radiation safely. Absorb a certain amount and you will be granted cool powers to aide you in your quest. Each mutation is completely random, some will be extremely helpful whilst others I found to be less than helpful. It’s not so much a negative aspect as it adds tension to your run, especially if fights are not going your way. The anticipation for the next mutation and wether or not it will improve or hinder your characters progression, makes for some interesting gameplay.
As with all rogue-likes, if you die you start from the very beginning. Some players may turn their nose up at this mechanic but for others you may revel in this challenge. You can save up some of the worlds currency, which in this case happens to be cassette tapes. As long as you deposit them in the bank, you’ll be able to utilise these if you do happen to die for a head start in your new run. Not only will you find cassette tapes, the old school storage that is floppy disks can be found and used to open doors and chests scattered about the levels.
As you wander around the isometric world you’ll notice the path you’ve walked along begins to regenerate fauna, you are breathing life back into the wasteland. It’s a beautiful game to look at, thanks to its neon-drenched visuals.
Not only is the title of the game related to the radiated world your character inhabits, it’s also a callback to 80’s culture in which been called ‘rad’ was a badge of honour. This game is drenched in 80’s aesthetics, the colours, soundtrack and even certain character names are a huge-not-so-subtle nod to that era. I’m a 90’s kid, and whilst I wasn’t part of that era I do find most of my favourite films and other cultural influences come from the 80’s. So this look and feel to the game was up my alley to say the least, and I’m sure it’ll please others as well.
Double Fine continue to make interesting games and RAD is no different, the dark humour and visual niceness make for a fun game to play.
Apart from the 80’s soaked aesthetic with humour and tight gameplay, RAD doesn’t reinvent or expand on the rogue-like genre and that’s ok. Some frustrations come from the random mutations, when they work they work and when they don’t it could mean for an annoying end to a perfectly good run.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*