Review – Rad Rodgers

Being raised in the hella tubular 90’s was freakin’ mad tight. I’ve been a gamer since I can remember things, with my older brother and uncles having all the current systems to play with. I remember getting our Super Nintendo and just thinking it was the absolute shiznit. Often times my brother and I would pretend we were in a video game while playing around. Rad Rodgers is a wicked rendition of what I imagined as a kid getting sucked into a video game world was like, but with more innuendos and worse AI.

In Rad Rodgers you play as, well, Rad Rodgers, a rowdy kid who plays way too many games (yeah I went there). After a long night of gaming, Rad awakens to find his old dusty console turned on by itself. Suddenly a vortex appears and sucks him and his console into the tv, where he then finds himself in his own video game world. Within the game world, Dusty the console becomes sentient and ushers Rad into the universe providing tips, weaponry, and a foul mouth. Dusty informs Rad that the decaying jungle world has been corrupted by a virus and it’s up to them to save the Elder Tree.

Rad Rodgers Gun

Rad n’ ready to wreak havoc

Formerly known as Rad Rodgers: World One, Slipgate Studios created a solid title but it had some flaws apparently. Reports where that It was extremely short, had some bugs and just felt a little barren. Fast forward a little over a year and we have gotten a re-release that fixed a lot of issues and added extra content. Slipgate Studios added in leaderboards, hats to find and equip, 5 new levels, new bosses, 4 new enemies, a slew of bug fixes and more. And even with all of these additions Rad Rodgers still feels lacking in a few ways.

I never played the original release and after going through the new version with all the additions it was hard to image the game had even less content. What we do get is still a very good time, but it’s short and could use more enemy variety. The level variety is pleasantly diverse and in between the standard levels are fun fast paced Pogo Vertigo levels. Pogo Vertigo levels are fast paced sections where Rad dawns a pogo stick and bounces up as high as he can go bouncing between platforms without falling.

Rad Pogo

Jump! Pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo pogo. Bounce!

The gameplay is pretty standard platforming, which is what the developers were aiming for and they do it fairly well. There are secret areas, puzzles, easter eggs and quick acting platforming sections. In between the platforming is some gun toting gory gun-play that works well with a mouse or controller. Within each level there are weapon pickups like a machine gun, grenade launcher, phoenix cannon that acts like a flame thrower, and one that looks like a massive particle beam cannon. In a handful of levels there’s a pick-up called the Excali-bat and when picked up Rad exclaims “I have the power!” and becomes invincible and starts beating the corrupted wildlife to a pulp. Throughout the levels you get checkpoint saves by collecting 3.5″ floppy discs, but if you lose all your lives you will have to start the entire level over.

The main issue with the moment to moment gameplay is that the enemies are boring and pretty dumb. The only enemies that really attack you are the ones that shoot projectiles. The others just run around aimlessly and even some of the large berserker enemies seem to have a strange glitch that when they attack with a ground pound they get stuck in place. The hit box is also a little wonky when it comes to traps and projectiles, but once you get used to that you can adjust accordingly.

Rad Enemies

Get use to these two enemies

The graphics and art direction are striking, with a bold and colorful Pixar-esque style. The main characters and foregrounds of each level have a welcome attention to detail and design. However, the backgrounds are fairly hit or miss with some pretty low resolutions in a few of them. The PC version has a nice handful of graphical options that, if all turned on, makes the game stand out even more. For instance, turning on shadows and particle effects for projectiles makes a subtle but attractive visual effect.

The sound design also stands out right away with a heavy rock theme and well done voice acting. Both Dusty and Rad’s voice actors clearly put in the work, with each having their own distinct personalities and one liners. Dusty is your foul mouthed sidekick that will often make older references or disgusting comments that Rad will get grossed out with. And Rad will make more relevant and age appropriate references like the “I have the power!” statement I mentioned before. This dynamic works well for the theme of the game and will resonate well with the kids, now adults, who were raised in the 90’s. My one problem with this is that some of the lines get repeated too often. Once you hear Dusty say “so this is what 3 and a half inches tastes like,” grossing out Rad when he picks up a checkpoint, it sort of loses its hilarity .

Rad Rodgers has a ton of potential and is overall pretty well executed. Having not played the original World One I can’t exactly compare how much it has improved, but from what I experienced it’s a solid title on its own. It’s definitely not without fault, however. The platforming could be tighter, the dialogue could use some more variety, and for the love of gaming please get some better AI. Despite those issues, I would still recommend Rad Rodgers for anyone who wants a silly, brash, and fun platformer.

Graphics: 8.0

The cartoony, Pixar-esque look is well done for the character models. Some of the environmental details are lacking, though.

Gameplay: 7.0

Standard platforming gameplay that needs a bit more tightening. The gun-play is well done, but the AI is terrible.

Sound: 8.5

Sound design is effective with a hard rock soundtrack, well done voice acting, and solid striking sound effects.

Fun Factor: 8.5

Rad Rodgers is a nice throwback to some old school platforming and silly 90’s attitude. The limited gameplay and poor AI is its downfall.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Reviewed on PC.

Rad Rodgers is available now on PC, Xbox One and PS4

A copy of Rad Rodgers was provided by the publisher.