There is always a negative connotation with mutations and diseases but with RAD, Double Fine’s newest game in development, all of that will change. RAD takes place in a world after, not one but two apocalypses. You play as a teenager whose village is starting to run out of resources. It is up to you to face the fears of the outside world. Toxic Goo, Radioactive monkeys, fire breathing slugs and more stand in your way of getting energy back to your village.
Personally, I have always been drawn to the post-apocalyptic genre but where this game really shines is in the main mechanic. As you kill mutants, you will gain experience and eventually gain mutations at random for each level you hit. Throughout my time playing, I have gotten crazy abilities from having a flaming skull head to throw at enemies, a horse body that allows me to charge forward, gooey feet that leave poison trails and much more. Each run will feel very different in playstyle because you never know which ability you will get.
Each world consists of shrines that you must activate in order to open the entrance to the boss pit where you will battle a number of strong foes. However, getting to those shrines is not always so easy because there are quite a few baddies and obstacles that will get in your way. If you can’t make it past the challenges out there and your health reaches zero, your character will be defeated and you will have to start from world 1 with no mutations. Luckily, there are numerous ways to get additional mutations and power-ups. The world is full of various shrines all with their own special perks, items in shops and additional weapon types available that will unlock as you continue playing the game.
So far I have spent about a few days or so with the game and thought that it was time to not only spread the word but talk about some of the pros and cons about this game. Of course, please keep in mind that this is still in a closed beta state and will not reflect the end result of the game. First, the game is definitely an homage to the ’80s and plays very deep into it where everything feels like an old Saturday morning cartoon. From the announcer reading out just about every action you take in a deep tone, to the vibrant visual palette, this game knows what it is and does not stray from it. The tone of it, I think is great, especially with Double Fine’s humor that comes with just about any game that team creates. However, the visual color tone or shading (I can’t put my finger on it just yet) does not play well with my vision. After a while of playing the game, my eyes hurt a bit because I feel like it is never in focus. I attribute it more to the colors though because in the later levels it did not seem as bad. It is not game-breaking and I have not seen others complain about it so it might just be me.
The gameplay is very fun once you start picking up your mutations. There is a good variety of different abilities in the game so it keeps it engaging while you are still getting better with the mechanics. You start off with nothing, however, and it can be a drag when you lose knowing that all progress is reset. It takes a couple of minutes to get back to a character with a few mutations which is annoying but once you get ramped up, that’s where it starts to get interesting. All of these mutations are random so it forces you to learn how to play the game in many ways and what each enemy is weaker against, making the runs seem faster and smoother. All the random mutations are fun at first but I do wish that there would be some way to influence which mutations you get. Now that I know many of the available mutations, it would be nice to have a higher chance of finding the ones I enjoy playing with more. Maybe even a different game mode in the future where you can build the mutations you want to see if you can make an OP character and see how far you get (Boss Rush idea maybe?).
One highlight of this is that the developers seem to be really taking action on things from this beta. There have already been some updates to how it plays based on feedback and I have had an occasion of running into developers tuning in and chatting with people who are currently streaming the game. This active community representation is a great sign for the game and I hope this attitude continues for not only the remainder of the beta but also after this has been released.
At the end of the day, I think that this beta would do fine even if it was released as is, there are still a lot of kinks to work out but it is a good time and hopefully will only get better. If any of this sounds interesting, there is still a chance to sign up for the closed beta here and check out the trailer below: