Rad Rodgers Radical Edition Review

Remember Rad Rogers? No? Well you wouldn’t, but Slipgate Studios certainly want you to. No matter what your thoughts about Rad Rogers are, it’s hard to believe this isn’t a remake from the nineties, but rather a lovingly created new IP with the decades flare down to a tee. Alas, while reminiscing with Rad and his chums is fun in short bursts and there’s plenty to keep fans coming back, he should probably head back to his own era.

Predominantly a platformer, the game sees Rad sucked into a 2D world full of nineties tropes with fourth wall breaking humour topping off the package. But while it takes its inspiration from a whole host of pop culture staples from a bygone era, it’s more Conkers Bad Fur Day than Banjo Kazooie, fleshing out it’s characters with a boat load of swearing and a penchant for a dark sense of humour. Generally, the comedy is hit and miss, but it may leave the easily offended with a sour taste in their mouth, while the rest of us will be rolling our eyes through the four or so hours of the campaign.

The bulk of the side scrolling plays well, with a focus on fast paced shooting across a selection of decent length maps. The basic gunplay is approachable and easy to handle, which is pretty vital in a game that constantly barrages you with armies of squirrel-like bad guys to mow down. Overall the controls are thankfully solid without too many hiccups, especially useful when trying to pull of slick moves to reach platforms.

But while it handles well that doesn’t equate to being fun. Completing each level requires four pieces of pizza to unlock the exit, but these are spread thinly throughout the maps and often require a fair amount of backtracking to find all the parts. It’s frustrating to make it to the exit to then have to make your way back through areas that you’ve already explored to try and find that final piece. What’s more frustrating is that enemies don’t spawn again once defeated, and while there’s loads of bad guys if you’re going back through pre-trodden areas that you’ve 100% completed for the most part you’ll find yourself wandering aimlessly.

While mostly you traverse, shoot and collect the heaps of diamonds spread across the map, occasionally mini puzzles sprout up that require Rad to deploy his wise cracking console-turned-backpack, Dusty, to figure out. These puzzles are normally a simple case of working your way through a quick maze while trying not to get smashed by the coloured blobs that try and halt your progress, eventually leading you to smash the X button to unblock whatever object is blocking Rad’s way. There’s exceptions to the rule, like circuit puzzles, but none of these stopgaps are fun and remain a distraction at best.

There’s a bunch of characters to unlock, each boasting a special ability, such as our titular characters trusty backpack friend Dusty that delivers a ground pound, or everyones favourite dated hero Duke Nukem (yes, that one) that wallops enemies with a beefy kick. You can also team up with a friend for some co-op fun or even enter a battle mode to test your metal against your friends.

Maybe the biggest issue with Rad Rogers is instead of focusing on making the title polished throughout its mainstay, there’s a focus on shoving as much in as possible to keep you replaying. There’s a tonne of collectables such as hats and pieces of artwork to unlock, but whether you’ll find good reason to head back through the campaign to find them is another question. If, however, you do want to head back and try and 100% the game, there’s secret rooms galore for you to find that will prove music to a completionist’s ears.

Despite trying to mirror its contemporaries aesthetically, Rad Rogers isn’t a particularly pretty game, especially docked. It somehow manages to look like a dated HD remake rather than exemplifying upon it’s predecessors. Worst of all the colour palette often muddies and while in handheld mode it’s passable, it’s downright ugly when played on a full screen. The character design (especially the enemies) is also really uninspired and there’s simply not enough variation, constantly taking on the same squirrel things with their handful of variations that pop up throughout the adventure drags when you near the end of the game.

In the end, Rad Rogers is an entirely mediocre platformer that can’t meet the standards of its predecessors. It handles great and if random f-bombs are your thing then you’ll know doubt enjoy the games dialogue, but repetitive enemies, poor puzzles and cosmetic inconsistencies leave you with very little reason to keep going when the campaign is over.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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Rad Rodgers Radical Edition Review
  • Gameplay - 5/10
  • Graphics - 5/10
  • Sound - 5/10
  • Replay Value - 5/10
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There’s plenty of great nineties inspired titles and even better HD remakes of classics, but Rad Rogers can’t fit into either of these categories.