Rad Rodgers (PC) Review

By Kevin Tsai 21.03.2018

Review for Rad Rodgers on PC

The 1990s were a pivotal time in the realm of videogame development and consumption. Plenty of trends of that era have carried over into present times, but many have been left behind, as well. Rad Rodgers is a 2D platformer shoot 'em up with a distinctly nostalgic tone and archaic design, but can such an old school game remain relevant in the current gaming consciousness? Cubed3 reviews the recent PC release to find out.

Rad Rodgers begins in a setting that is relatable for any gamer. Staying up way too late and well past his bedtime, Rad's mum forces him to turn off the game and go to bed. However, his videogame console surprisingly gobbles him up and plops him directly into the game he was playing, like a videogame equivalent of Pleasantville. The console even manifests himself as an anthropomorphic backpack, named Dusty, who grants Rad special abilities and acts as a travelling companion of sorts, a conceit clearly inspired by the likes of Banjo-Kazooie and Ratchet and Clank. While the storyline involves a quest to free the digital world from an insidious corrupting force, it is barebones at most, and mostly serves as an excuse for Rad to traipse through the levels shooting every living thing in sight.

Screenshot for Rad Rodgers on PC

The primary gameplay focus of Rad Rodgers is platforming, mixed with segments of jarringly bloody and violent combat, split into distinct levels. Rad is equipped with a gun from the start and will find plenty of weapons to add to his arsenal, ranging from a grenade launcher to a gun that literally shoots giant flaming birds. The guns are satisfying to use, but the enemies are all so easily dispatched it is often unclear as to why these different guns are required, other than adding some variety to an otherwise repetitive title. Rad's backpack, Dusty, also grants a powerful melee ability, as well as some additional platforming options to access different parts of the level. Unfortunately, the platforming mechanics feel loose and slippery. This is something that is difficult to explain in words and only experienced during actual gameplay, but having Rad slip off of ledges or hang oddly in the air due to the physics is a consistent annoyance.

Screenshot for Rad Rodgers on PC

The levels are colorful and artfully designed, although much more linear than they initially appear. Rad Rodgers' visuals oscillate between some standard pixel art and a modern 3D cartoon style and, for the most part, it works well. Background characters stare disapprovingly at Rad's antics and enemies explode in gratuitous depictions of blood and viscera. However, there are certain instances where the difference in foreground and background scenes can become unclear, leading to failed jumps and frustrating deaths. While the game is visually pleasing, the dense nature of the background and foreground can cause confusion, especially when enemies, collectibles, and bullets start filling the screen. This is also very short, easily finished in less than five hours, which makes it difficult to use each weapon to its fullest potential.

Screenshot for Rad Rodgers on PC

Dusty - Rad's trusty backpack - is a constantly jabbering voice throughout, often making meta-commentary about the game world, as well as cracking dozens, if not hundreds, of crude and inappropriate jokes. While the attempts at humour are appreciated, the consistent barrage will become irritating to some. The violent nature is an homage to titles like Conker's Bad Fur Day's adult setting hidden underneath a cutesy outer layer, but for some reason it feels even more jarring when the main character is a normal human child. The tone and setting of the game is unique, but not for everybody.

Screenshot for Rad Rodgers on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Rad Rodgers is a love letter to games from an older time, and manages to succeed in delivering a violent and satisfying 2D shooting experience. Unfortunately, unpolished platforming and a short length keep it from being a must play, especially considering the plethora of alternatives out there. The humour may not be for everybody, but for gamers looking for a blast from the past, Rad Rodgers is a rollicking and violent nostalgia trip to a simpler time.

Developer

Slipgate Studios

Publisher

THQ Nordic

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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