Vulgar and loaded with video game references, Rad Rodgers fails to be the fast-paced action platformer it wants to be due to cumbersome gameplay.

Conker, Commander Keen, and Jazz Jackrabbit are three beloved characters from cult classic action games of the 90’s. We love them for their non-stop action, iconic characters and occasional weirdness.

These are precisely the games Rad Rodgers hopes to join one day when it’s all grown up.

I love action platformers, with Captain Claw being a real personal favorite of mine. It has left a certain spell on me, with all the treasures to collect, the secret areas, and the epic story.

I expected no less from Rad Rodgers, but I might have had my hopes up too high.

Rad Rodgers introduces us to spoiled brat Ricardo “Rad” Rodriguez, and his gaming console Dusty. After a bizarre turn of events, they both find themselves inside a video game, working together side by side to kick ass.

The characters do have some untapped potential. A pair of a hyperactive kid and a fourth-wall-breaking, talking game console is an original matchup, after all.

Unfortunately, the dynamic between the two never rises above theĀ “generic power duo” with mixes of “annoying characters bashing each other”. If the game ever gets a sequel, I really hope to see a little more effort put into this “relationship”.

I won’t be holding my breath, though. The game’s first and foremost priority is what it considers humor, which is, of course, a stream of profanities and toilet humor.

This approach has its ups and downs. I thought it was pretty hilarious that when you enter villagers’ houses, they accuse you of breaking and entering or just tell you to eat a pile of dicks. Some of it felt a bit too juvenile, even for me, and that’s saying something. I did not like it when one of the villagers gave me a recovery heart and claimed that “he thought it was a buttplug” and that “I should clean it to get the rectal stank off of it”. I mean, I guess it can be funny to some people, but it just made me raise an eyebrow, you know?

Rad Rodgers is also filled with tons of video game and pop culture references, such as Mario, Zelda, and even He-Man. Along with frequent breaking of the fourth wall and some snarky comments from Dusty, this was a part of the game that I really enjoyed.

Rad Rodgers review

When it gets down to playing it, the game starts out okay but soon goes downhill.

Blowing enemies into bloody bits with different weapon upgrades is cool, but instead of fast-paced running-and-gunning, you have to carefully take out every enemy.

What’s worse, instead of having fun, bite-sized levels with quick and intense gameplay, they get dragged out into 20-minute affairs. You find yourself spending most of your time avoiding enemy attacks and slowly shooting them until they die. It all gets very repetitive very fast.

However, theĀ level design is pretty cool. The game sends you exploring exotic environments in search after Exit Pieces that make up the exit door for a level. Some of the levels aren’t very clear about where you’re supposed to go, and I often found myself searching for a path that was just barely visible due to cluttered visuals.

You will also find secret areas, which is fun, but most of them are unsatisfyingly small.

Some levels end with a miniboss fight, which would have been fun if that boss didn’t kill you in two hits. I suffered quite a few game overs due to those bosses, and it made me lose all my progress in the level. Frustrating to say the least.

The platforming reminded me of the Donkey Kong Country series, in the way you jump, avoid obstacles, climb on pipes and wriggle your way through jungle-themed levels and caves. Unlike in Donkey Kong, here it suffers from some clunky controls.

Rad and Dusty don’t always grab a ledge when you want them to, and for some odd reason, the velocity I’m going in when I jump atop a spring seems to affect my flight path, occasionally sending me to my death. It’s all very unforgiving considering you can’t double jump.

The invincibility period after getting hit is annoyingly short, so, for example, if you accidentally fall into water, you’re not going to get back to dry land without losing a whole bunch of health.

Rad Rodgers review

As far as graphics go, while the levels look good, it’s sometimes easy to miss a path, an enemy, or a deadly pitfall as they blend into the background of the darker levels. Even in well-lit ones, I’ve arrived at some areas where the camera got in the way and prevented me from avoiding a water pool, resulting in substantial damage.

The enemies explode into bloody bits, which is always a nice effect, but it’s difficult to enjoy that when they are so scarce.

The background music is fine, with cheesy rock, electronic, and techno music. The enemies make pretty generic sounds, and the characters themselves, while having the occasional good line, have pretty annoying voices.

I rage quit a few times while playing Rad Rodgers. I don’t enjoy playing 18-20 minutes of repetitive gameplay, only to be killed over something stupid, and having to start it all over again. I really wanted to enjoy Rad Rodgers, but it was hard to do it when just about everything is so sub-par.

I would really like to see a Rad Rodgers that is full of action and actual humor and not one that flushes all of its potential down the toilet.

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