Title: Rad Rodgers – Radical Edition
Developer: Slipgate Ironworks
Publisher: 3D Realms, HandyGames
Genre: 2.5D Platformer
Available On: Switch, PC
Official Site: https://slipgate-studios.com/
Release Date: 26th February
Nintendo and classic platforming are two things that have gone together very well throughout history. From obvious classics like Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong to more recent additions such as Super Mario Odyssey, Nintendo systems have always been gifted with glorious platformer titles. Because of the sheer quantity of great platformers available, it could be considered somewhat brave to challenge the market with an indie third party title. After all, indie platformers flood practically every system out there due to their ease to make and popularity among gamers. Today’s review of Rad Rodgers might very well be a case study of why indie developers should be wary to avoid their game being labeled as ‘just another platformer’ because, sadly, that’s exactly what Slipgate Ironworks’ latest title is.
Narratively speaking, Rad Rodgers isn’t exactly the second coming of Bioshock Infinite. The story is basically your mom wants Rad to go to bed, he doesn’t and then he gets sucked into his TV. Something like that anyway. It’s not as though the story is actually important as it never gets brought back up once you enter the game’s world map. You meet Dusty after being sucked in who is Rad’s sentient games console (who has also apparently developed a quirk for dirty jokes). I’m not a fan of Dusty. He’s like that one annoying friend you have who can’t read when a joke had gone too far and keeps persisting with it. Everyone’s beyond the fake laughter stage but he just won’t stop. Yeah, that’s Dusty.
It’s unlikely you’d pick up a title like Rad Rodgers for its story so I can overlook its narrative shortcomings. If anything, there probably wasn’t a need to include a story at all in the first place. What I am more bothered by is the game’s idiosyncratic sense of humor. If I was a 10-year-old boy who had just come out of his sex-education class then maybe Rad Rodgers might just about get a chuckle out of me. It’s a push still but that’s about the level of immaturity and complexity the dialogue is on. However, as a 21-year-old man, it really didn’t do much for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I can find a good dirty joke as funny as anyone. Rad Rodgers’ problem is that very little of what’s said is ever good in the first place. Hilariously, the writing kind of resembles one of my favorite franchises, the Neptunia games. There’s plenty of innuendos and attempted industry savvy jokes layered one after another. The difference is that the Neptunia games know their audience whilst poor Rad Rodgers seems confused about what it wants to be. A kids game? Far from. An adults game? Hardly. Teenagers? Most likely but they’re more likely to be playing trending games like Apex Legends than a random platformer hidden deep within the eShop.
If that’s not bad enough, Rad Rodgers also suffers from having way too many repeated voice lines. There’s not much worse in a game than having to hear little Rad constantly remind me that I’m looking for quarters of a coin to finish the level. I know Rad, I don’t have amnesia. I appreciate your concerns but you don’t have to remind me every time I want to even slightly wander around and explore the level.
If you can get past the cringy writing then mechanically speaking Rad Rodgers is perfectly competent. There are times when it can feel a little slow for my personal taste but jumping through levels is fun enough. The level design is fairly impressive too with several hidden areas, collectibles and power-ups to discover. They’re sizable enough that it can take a good amount of time to find everything but not so big that it gets confusing to find everything. It’s a shame that in between the main levels, the developers felt the need to dump pointless mini-game activities that you have to try at least once to progress. One example is this pogo-stick game where you have to keep jumping up to avoid the rising water levels. I played it once, didn’t care much but gave it a good effort. After the first time, I realized I was wasting my time and just died quickly so I could get onto the actual levels.
Within the main levels themselves, there are more minigames where you get to play as Dusty. As little as I like Dusty, these puzzle minigames are actually okay. Some of them take serious thought whilst others are straightforward search and destroy objectives. You need to complete them to unveil parts of the level or free up an area. On one of these, you punch some logs to death in Dusty’s weird alternate reality and then once you regain control of Rad, the same log is destroyed in his world. Normally I’d be a little upset at a game taking me out of the action like this but it’s executed well enough that it doesn’t impact Rad Rodgers‘ overall value as a platformer. Dusty’s segments are short and simple, just like they should be.
Verdict: Rad Rodgers’ biggest problem by far is its inability to differentiate itself from competitors. I don’t feel that it does even one thing that I’d call unique or interesting in the grand scheme of things. It’s easy to name at least ten better platformers on Switch right now without even consulting Google. Perhaps if it was especially cheap or affordable, I could see its value as a budget option but at $29.99 it’s actually more expensive than many far superior competitors. You can get Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, which is still relatively new too, for less and that’s one of the greatest platformers of the decade. Even if you can look past the corny humor and not particularly likable characters, the core gameplay is still so average that it’s very hard to recommend Rad Rodgers on that alone. If all that isn’t enough, we’ve also got Super Meat Boy Forever right around the corner. Which is practically guaranteed to be a far better platformer at a likely similar price. All things considered, it’s a no from me.
- Decent level design. It's fun enough to just look around and find all the collectibles.
- Mechanically sound. Both the platforming and combat are satisfactory.
- Puzzle elements within stages are well implemented.
- The Humor and dialogue as a whole are painful in places. I just want Dusty to shut up.
- Pointless minigames are pointless.
- Repetitive dialogue gets old real fast.
- I'm not convinced the game knows who its audience is. Rad Rodgers has a serious identity crisis.
I’m a passionate games critic who has been writing actively since 2015. I have a particular interest in both racing games and JRPGs as well as a love for Overwatch and its eSports scene. I consider gaming and writing my two big passions in life. So much so that I’m currently studying a one of a kind degree that covers both in one! My goal in life is simply to become a renowned critic who is respected for his opinions.