After the arrival of the Apocalypse for the second time (yes, that’s right) these survivors just want to have some energy again and survive for another day. So we will have to make sacrifices and mutate our own body to deal with the dangerous wasteland. In the RAD analysis, we show you how this radical roguelike works.
Not that there are many moments for jokes on RAD, but presumably Double Fine was not going to miss the opportunity to give a humorous connotation to one of his games. That is why in RAD we will not face post-apocalypse, but the second of them. Something that, as the game itself says, made people say: are you serious?
Double Fine does well in planting a jocular tone and an eighties and radical atmosphere for his new work. After all, when we go out to fight the wasteland, you cannot take what you are going to take seriously, once you face creatures out of all logic or notice how your body mutates in such different and bizarre ways. From turning your head into a nuclear skull, your legs in crab legs, your body in that of a goat or a strange little friend coming out of your back that shoots projectiles …
Thus, the game is accompanied by an atmosphere of the 80s in which money is videotapes or CDs, people love as cartoons the signs of cartoons and sound musical pieces based on that decade, one of which took me inexorably to hum in my head the Jump of Van Halen of how inspired it is in this song. But as much as Double Fine has wanted to impregnate this roguelike of his personal style, in the end, what dictates the triumph in the genre is something very different. Its mechanics, its balance in the progression and its rhythm when it progresses. And I would say that RAD, although it complies, is less radical than I would have liked.
Objective: recover energy
Under the premise of returning energy to the camp of survivors, in RAD we will have to overcome a series of worlds and phases activating mechanisms to open the exit of the level. This means exploring each wilderness a lot and addressing the dangers in it. I think it is one of the great things that Double Fine achieves here because it constantly keeps the player wondering if he should continue the exploration a little more or it is better to keep moving forward. It is a good question because there is no concrete answer. Sometimes it will be preferable to explore to get more money, health or level up, while in others the danger can end our lives.
And as in every good roguelike worth it’s salt, here permanent death plays an important role. If we die in the wilderness, we lose everything. Mutations of our body, money, life improvements or passive skills and artifacts achieved … Everything will disappear. Even so, there are some elements that transcend the next game. If we have been lucky enough to meet one of the ATMs, we will be able to save the money in the bank and we will not lose it, while as we go up a bar of general experience, we can unlock more important weapons or improvements.
It is a good option for those who want to take a break from their favorite roguelike
In every good roguelike, however, the most important thing is to achieve a good feeling of both rhythm and balance in all aspects, and that is something that in RAD I have got to suffer in some games. While in some of them I have finished lined with ribbons or found abundant meat, in other phases it has been practically impossible to achieve even a portion of the life or useful diskettes They serve as a key to open chests. So the only way to progress is to move towards the fateful end of facing a boss with few resources at your fingertips. It is, I understand, the price to be paid for the randomness of the genre, but they are also statistics that can be better regulated from the game engine.
This, coupled with the fact that much of what we learn in RAD is done by a very punishing trial-error, In our first games, the barrier may become too high. When a good run has taken you hours and you end up dying because the game has not explained any concept or mechanics, it can be frustrating. Until you learn all its rules, many times losing your life in the process, you will not be able to face the dangers and more advanced worlds. For example, there comes a point where you find a machine with which you can change a mutation for a new and random one. But depending on which button you activate the machine, this will replace the mutation. If you do not know, you can lose your precious main attack and any opportunity to continue advancing with a weak weapon that you do not control at all.
However, as a good roguelike, starting can be lazy, but it is always rewarded with a new game that becomes unique. It is an intrinsic feature in this genre to constantly get you out of your comfort zone. Surely you found it comfortable to throw fireballs from your arms or leave a trace of acid on the ground that easily ends your enemies, but now you will have to try another completely different strategy, raising vines that incapacitate them, releasing a toxin that weakens them or throwing a boomerang you have per arm.
I have to admit that there have been real-time RAD moments. Of those that through learning has made me start with desire and with the security of having a good amount of tapes in the bank to be able to buy weapons and advanced objects from the beginning. But as I progressed, I noticed that it was not easier for me to go through the first levels to move quickly to the difficult ones. That hinders the progression. He still had to be too cautious, since he no longer had any of the health improvements or attacks. We must also bear in mind that the movement of our character is quite slow, both when moving and attacking (although you leave a trail of flowers that allows you to move more agilely on your steps). The Basic attack with the bat is not highly recommended as it requires getting too close to the enemies and it is difficult to detect when they attack or when you can react after an attack. In the end, the best way to progress is to play safe, looking for distance with your mutations, but this formula can also slow the pace of the game too much.
All in all, RAD is a good option for those who want to take a break from their favorite roguelike. The mutations, passive skills, and artifacts that you pick up on the road are varied enough to feel like starting once more after death, but in the long run, you notice too much of a certain repetition that can reduce your desire to move forward. The same goes for the rhythm and randomness of the games, which could be better balanced. However, Double Fine ultimately achieves the ultimate goal of a good roguelike: that you want to start over after losing everything. And there is no doubt that it is a radical achievement.
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RAD creates a fun post-apocalyptic roguelike, thanks to our character’s ability to mutate in the strangest and most varied ways. It can become somewhat repetitive when we have a good handful of hours and we also miss some innovation in the genre, but there is no doubt that Double Fine has managed to capture its essence, providing its touch of humor and a style inspired by The 80’s that feels like a glove.
- The different mutations and their effects are very fun and varied.
- The atmosphere inspired by the 80s and the variety of its levels.
- In the first few hours, you want to start over again and try other skills.
- It does not offer great contributions to the genre.
- In the long run, it can become somewhat repetitive.
- It could have improved the pace, speed, and balance in advanced games.