RAD Xbox One X Review

Once you get into the flow of RAD's rhythm of death and renewal you'll keep coming back for more.

By Grayshadow, Posted 22 Aug 2019

RAD is a tough post-post-apocalyptic adventure that has players relying not only on skill to survive the mutated hordes but luck as well. With each new run offering randomized powerups and maps that constantly challenges the player. Adding to the difficulty is the rarity of health and making purchasable resources expensive. Despite this RAD's addicting gameplay quickly takes over. And once you get into the flow of RAD's rhythm of death and renewal you'll keep coming back for more.

Rad,Bandai Namco,Double Fine Productions,

We've heard the stories of a post-apocalyptic world before but RAD takes place during the second appcolypse. The surviving humans face extinction since the machines that aid in their survival are failing. To save the remaining humans a teenager is sent into the Fallow in search of a new power source. Double Fine has included a wide array of characters to choose from but they are merely cosmetic. The story does offer a reason for you heading into the destroyed landscape but doesn't evolve into anything meaningful. Eventually, it fades into the background. Especially when you die and lost hours of progress.

RAD is a top-down action-adventure rouge-like game with some twin-stick shooter elements. Your primary attack comes from a close range bat that can be charged for a powerful swing. You do gain access to projectiles but these are specialized mutate abilities linked to a charging meter. Your mutated abilities, like the maps you'll explore, are randomized and each run grants you with up to 3 different mutant abilities. Sometimes you'll get a skull that can be thrown or maybe a snakehead. This can work in favor and against you, with certain builds complementing one another for combo attacks and others being entirely incompatible.  

RAD is not an easy game, in fact, it can become downright brutal at times. You're encouraged to search the environment for more than just the objectives, which when triggered open the boss room. Health is rare and regenerating that lost energy is difficult. Double Fine did include locked chests that can be opened using floppy disks and money to purchase items. However, like health, are often rare conveniences. Adding to the challenge is not allowing your health to regenerate between levels. Whatever you ended with is what you start with.

Rad,Bandai Namco,Double Fine Productions,

The game does encourage you to keep moving. With killstreaks and sometimes special bonuses keeping the player moving from one target to the next. Sometimes you'll get a minor speed boost and other times extra damage. A dodge roll does offer an extra boost in speed and grants a brief moment of invulnerability. All this gives you complete control over attacking and maneuverability. 

You do gain more health as you defeat bosses but if killed, those upgrades are gone. You can store money between levels at your bank and use that funds for extra boosts in later runs. So you're not entirely starting from scratch.

RAD does carry that Double Fine charm. Like other titles from the acclaimed studio the game often makes fun of itself, reality, and your own death. The voice-acting does carry a much more serious tone than what the game is conveying but this is a minor complaint. 

Rad,Bandai Namco,Double Fine Productions,

The soundtrack complements the entire game. Offering that 90s retro flare. Complete with bright purple hues. It's nothing groundbreaking but it works in the overall tone and ambiance of RAD.

The visuals are appealing, with bone and flesh altered in cartoonish ways as your character changes. The environments, while diverse, are nothing players haven't seen in this type of game. There are layers to each area, offering underground sections and teleporters to get around. The colorful flora, destroyed machines, surviving humans, and deadly mutated animals are all well-animated and look great. It's not anything unique but it's clear that Double Fine took a great deal of effort designing everything.

I would argue that RAD would've benefited from cooperative play. The game's large map and high amount of enemies would provide an ideal experience for 2 or more players. Especially when locating the objective within each map as some can get very big. Unfortunately, that option does not exist here. Maybe in a future update.

Rad,Bandai Namco,Double Fine Productions,

RAD is a great rogue-like game. It not only provides a profoundly challenging experience, but the entire game also has that Double Fine magic that fans of Stacking, Psychonauts, and Brutal Legend enjoy. Don't expect to dive into RAD without dying a few dozen times but once you get into the groove of its mechanics, it'll be hard to stop.
 

Adam Siddiqui,
Senior Editor, NoobFeed
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General Information

RAD

80/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer(s): Double Fine Productions
Genres: Action, Adventure, Rogue-like
Themes: Post-post-apocalyptic
Release Date: 2019-08-20

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