Starting off as a Kickstarter project in 2018, Rad Rogers found it’s way on to the Switch roughly a year after it’s inception. The Switch version, coined the Radical Edition boasts of more levels, more gameplay elements, more avatars, and even a new game mode. But is all of that enough to make Rad Rogers a must buy on your Switch? Let’s find out.
Story & Narrative
Rad Rogers follows the story of the titular kid, as he is sucked into his old CRT TV, and finds himself in the glitched world of the video game he has been playing too much in spite of warnings from his mother. Now he needs to make his way through the different levels of the game; By his side is a gun with infinite ammo, and his old video game console which he had named Dusty, who has come to life in the game world, and now rides shotgun on his back, giving him advice, helping him in combat, and most importantly providing witty often R rated one-liners.
And who can blame Dusty for being a potty mouth, considering he has been voiced by Jon St. John, the voice behind Duke Nukem. Who by the way also appears as one of the playable skins/avatars in the game. In fact, the entire games is full of 90s Easter Eggs and references, staying true to the promise of creating a platformer drenched in 90s nostalgia, as they had promised in their initial Kickstarter appeal. Even the menus and HUD capture a nostalgic joy of the games of yesteryears.
Gameplay & Mechanics
And in line with the 90s theme, Rad Rogers Radical Edition plays very much like a 2D Scroller Platformer/Shooter. With the objective of collecting 4 pieces to exit a level, a player also collects gems, playable skins, alternate guns, and other collectibles to round off the experience. Most levels are linear but also retractable, so you can go back to areas which you might have missed on your first pass to complete your collection.
This shooting and platforming sandwiches small alternate gaming experience, like a Rad Rogers Pinball game or a Duck Tales inspired Pogo-stick jumping game. They add little to the overall game though and serve little purpose other thank letting players catch their breath between the meat of the game. There is also a Battle mode which promises PvP both online and co-op, but once again, isn’t the mode where you will find spending most of your time. The co-op mode though is pretty decent and the Joy Con integration is decent to say the least.
Through all of this, the old console Dusty is your companion. Apart from helping you in combat with its special melee skill, Dusty also helps removes glitches from the game, by entering the binary world and punching obstacles and pedestals into their rightful places so the player can progress. Unlike the others though, this comes as a welcome break from the constant shooting and also gives something to do to Dusty instead of just piggybacking on the player.
The platforming thus feels a little sluggish though, and it’s not as polished as I would have liked. Plus the shooting can also be finicky, especially when trying to target enemies either above or below you. This makes the game follow a more deliberate pace than a fast run and gun shooter I would have expected. It’s not ideal, but it’s not deal breaking for sure. Though the levels themselves are not too long, so you don’t feel as if you are marathoning something at any point in time.
Graphics Sound & Performance
Apart from the aforementioned sluggishness, I did not run into any issues while playing Rad Rogers Radical Edition. The game ran smoothly, which is not surprising given its decision to opt for the 16 Bit design style popular in the PC games of the 90s. The voice design is very well done, though it can be a little cheesy sometimes, then again it is inspired by the 90s.
The background though could have been less busy. Sometimes the background was so dense and crowded, I lost platforms and enemies in them. I would have preferred if they would have swapped out the dynamic busy background with static ones and provided a more responsive control scheme, but you can’t have everything.
Rad Rogers is not the genre-defining game of this generation. It does not take the 90s platformer and turns it around on its head. It plays it safe and offers you exactly what you expect, a quick jaunt through 90s nostalgia. Its playable, more fun with a partner and can hold your attention for bits and pieces with its various skins and one-liners. Maybe wait for a sale to pick this up and play through it one of those lazy weekends.