Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and one that Rad Rodgers withdraws quite well, I might add. Back in the early 90’s, for me, the greatest genre was the good old side-scrolling platformer. You just couldn’t beat a few hours with the likes of Sonic and Mario, and although the former has fell far from his path, the genre has been going strong ever since, if not stronger. Slipgate Studios’ Kickstarter game is here to remind us of the good old days, but with a modern twist. Rad Rodgers is a comical adventure that throws you into the role of Rad, a young boy with a big chip on is shoulder, one that just so happens to love playing video games.
Following a bollocking from his mother, Rad tries to get some shuteye, when all of a sudden Rad’s television turns on. Before long, Rad gets sucked into the game world, and from here on out the adventure begins. Accompanied by your new friend Rusty, a loud and rude computer, you’ll be tasked with traversing some well detailed locations as you try to get to the bottom of what has transpired. What sort of friend would Rusty be if he didn’t pass you a fully automatic assault rifle? Exactly, and that’s precisely what he does. Your adventure begins in a strange woodland area that’s littered with enemies of all shapes and sizes, and using your infinite-ammo gun, you’ll set off to put an end to the tyranny.
When it comes to structure, Rad Rodgers is quite simplistic. Mostly consisting of nothing more than “go here” and “kill these”, with some other light elements of play thrown in for good measure. Despite the fact that Rad can shoot limitless ammo, there are other ammo types that can be obtained to alter the functionality of his weapon; rapid fire, explosive rounds, and so on and so forth. You don’t take on the whole adventure (seven worlds) as Rad, as Rusty is able to get in on the action too, via travelling to the Pixel-verse. These moments serve themselves as mini-games, and are often necessary to overcome for further progression with Rad. These puzzle sections tend to remain quite intuitive, proving not to be too taxing or too forgiving.
Mercifully the game handles smoothly thanks to some straightforward and easy to understand controls. You’ll jump, you’ll shoot/melee, and you’ll move. It’s that simple. Sadly, the performance not so much. Rad Rodgers suffers from screen tearing, and for a game that’s not got a great deal of length, this is somewhat disheartening. The difficulty curve is well set and gradually climbs in complexity as you get deeper into the experience. The checkpoint system is quite generous too, so you’re never losing too much progress upon a failed attempt. The story within isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but it’s the humor and the crude style that hogs the limelight here.
The jokes may indeed wear thin before long, but I can guarantee you that this game will still draw a smile on your face when you’re close to the end game. Rad Rodgers is jam-packed with collectibles to uncover, including; cosmetic hats, lion medals, and even level artwork. The aim of the game is to seek out four pieces of a puzzle on each stage, and once you gather them all up, a door will open that will allow you to pass through to the next level. It’s a straight-up rip from those 90’s classics, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I cant say that I can commend the level variety, despite the solid design, as each stage just feels too similar to the next. This isn’t a massive gripe, but if you’re coming here for diversity, you may find yourselves disappointed.
Visually, the game holds up quite well. There’s a lot of color usage within, much of which blends together to produce some wonderful sections throughout. The character animations could have been better, but this is a small complaint for what’s otherwise a well rounded platformer. The enemy variants helps to keep the adventure on its toes, and shaves a layer of repetitive play off. Oddly enough, and I haven’t been able to find an answer to this, but the game is known as Rad Rodgers: World One on PC. Console versions are simply titled Rad Rodgers. I had assumed that this would point to subsequent worlds being implemented, or sequels coming in the pipeline, but I was hard pressed to find a definitive response to that. Still, irrespective of its short length, it’s an adventure that’s worth the trek.
Rad Rodgers is a good looking, fun, and comical adventure that will please just about anyone that gamed in the 90s. It’s short and suffers from some screen tearing issues, but for the most part, it holds its own ground well. This is one foul mouthed, entertaining, and well rounded nostalgic trip that you don’t want to miss out on.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.