Rad Rodgers is about a young boy who plays way too many video games. One night, his mum comes into his room, telling him to go to bed as he has school in the morning. Rad refuses at first, but after a little while, he falls asleep in his bed. He awakes to find his console has turned itself back on. All of a sudden, a huge vortex emerges from the TV screen which sucks Rad into the void.
Once Rad wakes up, he finds himself in his very own video game with his foul-mouth console buddy Dusty at his side.
Dusty explains that the forest is in trouble and a sacred tree is not taking his calls! All forest animals have also turned nasty, and it’s your mission to set things right.
Gameplay in Rad Rodgers sees you platforming, collecting gems to increase your score, and killing a variety of enemies with your handy machine gun. You also need to collect four pieces of an amulet to open the exit at the end of a level. These pieces, though, are hidden away all over the place.
What is apparent from the very beginning is how big the levels are. Some backtracking may be needed to get all the pieces of an amulet.
A little side note, when you first start the game up, you’ll have a choice on what type of game you want to play: one that is filled with light-hearted quips, or a more adult-themed journey.
Rad Rodgers has clearly taken inspiration from other creatures from N64 era, e.g. Conker’s Bad Fur Day, a foul-mouthed squirrel that can assault your ears with every obscenity under the sun.
Rad Rodgers is no exception. The young boy doesn’t say anything too adult, unlike his old console and ex-partner Dusty who will be coming up with all sorts of obscenity. And not only him, but nearly every other NPC has something rude to say. While the younger adult may find this humour funny, I found it dull, unfunny, and quite immature. Rad Rodgers just doesn’t have the personality to back this up, and it feels a little out of place here.
So what can you do in Rad Rodgers that makes it stand out from other platformers? Well, nothing really. This is a by the numbers platformer that tries to be really edgy but doesn’t quite pull it off.
Your character can run, jump, fire his main weapon, and use a special attack. You can pick up multiple different weapon-power-ups that have a limited amount of ammunition. Also, you can control your buddy Dusty in pixel style levels.
Talking about characters, there are seven to pick from. Two are available at the beginning, and the rest need to be unlocked; discovered in levels to become playable.
What I find unique and also a complete missed opportunity is the cast of characters on offer. Apart from Rad and Dusty – the main duo we have – some random character called the inhabitant, which is just a creature from the first area, that can fire homing shots out of his hands as his special. We have a blade wannabe, a random girl that can roll bombs like a bowling ball, and a frog-like character that looks like he’s skinned Blanka from Street Fighter.
All of a sudden, we have a super iconic character… the one and only Duke Nukem which was a massive surprise for me. He’s the only unique gaming hero in Rad Rodgers… why?
The rest of the cast looks like rejects from games that have never seen the light of day which is a huge let down as Duke Nukem seems to be the only BIG NAME character in the game… I thought that maybe other gaming heroes might make an appearance, but it never happens.
Also, why Duke Nukem? And why is his special move just a plain, old kick? No shotguns or special weapons. He still has his one-liners, but with no context why he’s even in the game, it makes the cast here feel very disjointed.
Being Rad has never felt so bad!
The game is pretty standard as far as platformers go. You walk, jump around collecting green gems to get the high score, look for secret areas and pathways that lead you to one of the four amulet pieces to unlock the exit. That’s pretty much Rad Rodgers in a nutshell.
Now and again, you will find pixel portals that only Dusty can enter. You have a bar under the main health pool that recharges over time. You either use some of that energy for a special move or save it when you enter a pixel vortex.
While in the pixel dimension, you can fly around as Dusty and try to locate pieces of the foreground or background that are trapped inside this dimension.
Navigating through all the hazards during these sections can be tricky, and any contact with any of them will result in your bar depleting. Lose too much energy, and you will be zapped back into the game world with Rad. You will need to wait for the bar to replenish before trying again. However, if you’re successful, you can punch these pieces that are broken off, trapped in the pixel dimension, and smash them back into the real world, changing the gaming worlds layout and opening new areas.
This mechanic sounds interesting at first, but soon it becomes tedious and doesn’t really go any further than finding pieces, doing the puzzle, and repeat.
Gaming in the past!
Rad Rodgers just feels too safe with its platforming and doesn’t do enough to spice the core concept up. Even with the added extras that have been included in the Switch version, it still feels half baked.
There’s a 2-player battle mode with one area, and it has got to be one of the least exciting battle modes I’ve ever played – it feels tacked on.
There’s an art gallery with pictures to unlock and half a dozen hats you can find in each level if you can be bothered to collect them all.
Thankfully, there is a saving grace here that I do really like, and that’s the 2-player co-op through the adventure portion of the game.
I can’t deny that I had loads of fun with it. It’s my favourite feature in Rad Rodgers. I played with my nephew, and we had a blast with it. He didn’t care about the cast of characters, and he rather liked each of their unique looks and attacks, so maybe it’s a generation thing as I can see the faults and flaws in its design while he just enjoyed the weird and wonderful world where he got to shoot and blast monsters with big guns. We played on the kid mode.
There are also mini-games which he enjoyed playing, including a pogo jump game and a pinball mini-game. The 2-player battle mode that I mentioned before, which my nephew likes, is a little limited in terms of fun factor. However, there are a few weapons you get to play with in main battle mode to spice things up, such as the rapid-fire, phoenix cannon, and the massive laser blade which he loved a lot!
Sum it up!
So there is some fun to be had in Rad Rodgers, especially in 2-player co-op, but it just doesn’t tick all the boxes to turn this into a great platformer.
I feel like it’s stuck too much in the past and doesn’t really push any boundaries or adds any new ways to play.
Audio isn’t bad at all in Rad Rodgers, and it has a decent number of tunes to listen to while platforming. Sound effects for weapons pack a punch, and all the sound and voices are a welcome addition.
Visuals & Performance
One thing that’s great here are the visuals for each character, especially Duke Nukem who looks fantastic. While levels, visually, remind me of Twisted Sisters game that recently came out on the Switch. The backgrounds are quite blurry, and some areas can look quite stunning at times, while others look quite unpleasant.
It’s a mixed bag as far as backgrounds go, but the animation for the characters during FMVs look great, and voice clips all sound crisp and decent even though you will hear the same lines over and over again.
The performance ran ok. There were a few hiccups during co-op, like falling through floors or getting stuck in walls where a hard reset was required.
The game supports screenshots and video capture.
The icon shows Rad Rodgers armed and ready to go with the logo at the centre. This is how all Switch icons should look like in my opinion.
The game costs £26.99 which, for me, is way too expensive for what’s on offer. Adding in a few concept pictures and a few hats shouldn’t have raised the price to this extreme. These should be included anyway. The 2-player co-op is a nice inclusion, and the game also has an online leaderboard for score chasing.
I feel the game should be at around £14.99 at most. It’s just too expensive in my opinion.
Play as Duke Nukem
20 hats to unlock
2 player co-op is a blast
Lots of unnecessary swearing
2 player battle mode is tacked on