Let me start off by saying that I was not able to finish Randall for this review and it wasn’t because of a time constraint or lack of motivation, it was because Randall repeatedly told me to stop playing with various game breaking glitches and bugs. I made it through about half of the game before it locked me out of continuing my save file.
Randall is a metroidvania adventure where you play as Randall, a schizophrenic man who has just woken up from a coma and has no idea where he is or what is going on. With the help from his crazy second personality he must figure out what is going on with the city of Nook and what his role is in all of this. With the use of his extremely basic and repetitive combat skills, his cool but very glitchy mind controls, and his parkour maneuvers, he must defeat the hired monkey(?) thugs and figure out what is going on in the city.
Gameplay consists of platforming sections and combat arenas. This being a metroidvania game there will be secret areas to come back to as you unlock more moves and abilities to find upgrades to your health and mind powers. The basic platforming is actually fairly fun with a combination of dashes, cool side flips, wall jumping and ledge grabbing; there is promise here. Unfortunately the 6 levels feel very similar and a lot of the trap layouts seem recycled so it feels like you’re doing the same thing over and over. Traps are a one-hit kill and with the sometimes delayed control inputs, this mean you’ll be restarting at checkpoints a hell of a lot.
Combat is where Randall really starts getting boring and unfortunately there is a ton of it. The combat is very bare-bones with only a couple combos that you will spam over and over every other section of a level. What gets really frustrating is that enemies will stand next to each other and you can only hit one enemy at a time. This means when you start a combo the other enemy not getting hit is free to smack you around. You can grapple and separate the enemies, but the movement is slow and you can’t dash to get away quick enough after actions so you’re left vulnerable for too long. This leads to a lot of jump attacks and hit and run, it also doesn’t help that the enemy variety is very limited.
Randall also features a set of mind control moves which could have set it apart from other metroidvania platformers, but unfortunately they aren’t anything special and using them was when my glitches and bugs really started. As you progress you finally unlock some mind abilities that range from controlling your opponent’s mind, taking control of them by mounting them, and some powerful mind punches and a ground pound move that is also used to break certain floors. I got 2 game breaking bugs from taking control of enemies minds where I’d get stuck on their back, or when I’d dismount, get stuck, and have to restart. Another occurred when I used the ground pound move to break through a floor and the final one that completely screwed my save game was a mind punch through a wall to get a health upgrade.
Those were just the big bugs. Through my 3 hours of game time I experienced various sound glitches, camera glitches where the camera would not switch to the next area and animation glitches where I’d be stuck, but was still able to play. Graphics aren’t terrible, they are clean and lighting is nice in some areas, it’s too bad that most levels just look a lot a like. There are a couple entertaining battle tracks, but unfortunately the combat sound effects are very poor.
Randall has promise as a platformer and with some work on level variety and a lot of work on the combat mechanics it could be a fun game. Unfortunately it has some serious issues with bugs and glitches that completely ruin the game to where I couldn’t even finish it which completely ruins any good the game could have been. Lack of variety and repetitive combat is something that I can bear to a point considering it being a self published indie title, but it being a complete glitchy and buggy mess is unacceptable. It didn’t even give me the chance to quit from boredom before it repeated gave me the boot multiple times.
Randall is available now on PC and PS4.
Copy of Randall was provided by publisher