Inspired by side scrolling platform games of the 90’s, Rad Rodgers hits consoles after a successful initial release on PC. Set in the 1990’s, Rad is up way past his bedtime playing his games console, which he nicknames Dusty. After being caught red handed by his mum, he is told to turn it off and then sent to bed, but when Rad settles down to get a good night’s sleep, he is sucked through his TV in to a video game world. After waking up, confused and lost, Rad is shocked to see that Dusty, his trusty cartridge thirsty games console has come to life and is not only prepared to accompany him through the game world but also arms him with a meaty rifle to help him in his quest to the end boss, a wise old tree that has been cursed.
What Rad Rodgers does brilliantly is not take itself too seriously at all, in fact it mocks itself throughout with amusing one liner clichés that had me laughing out loud all the way through from start to finish. There are two options to choose from at the beginning of the game, a child friendly version or the adult version that has foul language and gore. Of course I selected the adult version and the quality in the writing, especially for Dusty really shines throughout the campaign with his fantastic no holds barred humour and foul language that really adds to the overall experience. The child friendly mode takes away the gore and bleeps out any swearing, a nice touch from the developers, allowing this game to be enjoyed by a younger audience.
Whichever mode you choose whether it be the child friendly version or the all out swear fest, blood soaked, full blown experience, you are certain to have a great time with this game. Gameplay is smooth and responsive with a simplistic style that is both satisfying and fun to play. There is the usual run, jump and shoot mechanics where the latter has a 360 aiming system that works really well. Dusty is also part of the gameplay as he can be used to smash enemies and grab on to platforms while offering some humerous commentary throughout. I can’t criticise the gameplay at all really as it’s a joy to play overall, but some players may find that it is maybe too basic and lacks variety, but when a game is this much fun, it doesn’t need to have deep complex gameplay.
Level design is varied and there is very little repetition throughout as things are kept fresh with new mechanics on each level especially the further in to the game you go. There are 12 levels in total which includes 3 bonus stages that are vertical levels where you have to get up to the top using only a pogo stick before the rising water drowns you. Each of the main levels vary in size and some can take a while to get through as they are fairly large in scale. This is because they have many variations in paths, objectives and are loaded with collectibles and secrets along the way. Each of the levels also have many intentional glitches in them which you have to send dusty into to rectify. These are little mini games where you have to navigate Dusty through game code to find a missing platform or to destroy wrongly placed obstacles in the game world.
What the mini games do a good job of is adding to the variety of the levels and help to change things up in terms of the gameplay. Each one differs slightly and just like the main levels, they get bigger in size and scale the further you get in to the game. Overall the level design is great and I never got bored playing Rad Rodgers. The only disappointing aspect is that it feels a little short in length, taking just over 5 hours to finish, which may put people off, but while some may think the £15.99 price tag is a little steep considering it’s fairly short length. Ido feel though that the price feels pretty justified here because it’s so much fun to play and with all the collectibles and secrets that I have yet to get, I have no qualms about giving it another play through and I’m sure people who buy this will feel the same.
Visually Rad Rodgers looks how you might expect. While it’s not necessarily the most stunning game you’ll ever see, it’s definitely a good looking game. It’s sharp, vibrant and colourful, with good detail and some lovely backdrops, filling the brilliant level design with a good art style that adds to its already booming personality. Finer details of the visual style like layers of mist, random pow style words whenever there is an explosion (some of which are pretty funny) and the 8 bit transitions when approaching the glitches all compliment the attention to detail that the developers have implemented. There is also a photo mode where you can move the camera around and take some snapshots whenever you feel like capturing a particular moment, which is a nice little addition. As mentioned earlier the one liners and dialogue is done really well but the game also has a fantastic soundtrack too, with each level having its own style of music that varies from old school gaming synth tunes to full on deep bass action scores that fit in with the overall style really well.
Despite only being at the back end of February, Rad Rodgers is one of my favourite games so far this year. It ticks all the boxes that you would want in a side scrolling 2D platform game, but with its own charm and characteristics that make it stand out from the crowd. Rad and Dusty are great characters and steal the show completely, the gameplay is fun, the dialogue will make you laugh and with its little Easter eggs and references to games of old, there is definitely something for everyone to appreciate here. Despite its short length I have really enjoyed my time with it and if you’re a fan of the 2D platform genre then this is an essential purchase. You are certain to have a blast playing it through from start to finish and you’ll most certainly be laughing all the way to the end too.