Randal’s Monday (PC) Preview

This article contains coverage of a preview build of Randal’s Monday. The opinions expressed below pertain to a piece of software in preview state, and may deal with features which […]

This article contains coverage of a preview build of Randal’s Monday. The opinions expressed below pertain to a piece of software in preview state, and may deal with features which are in an incomplete or prototype form. The coverage below is intended to provide a general impression of the game in its present state and may or may not apply to the finished game.

We’ve reviewed and previewed a great deal of adventure games here on BrainLazy. The genre is a big favorite among the staff. It was thus an easy decision to give Randal’s Monday a try when the folks at Daedalic and Nexus Game Studios offered to let us give the game a shot.

Randal’s Monday is an old school adventure game, very much in the style of Day of the Tentacle. There’s nothing particularly innovative about its gameplay or presentation, nor should there be. Its purpose is clearly to give gamers a taste of the good old days. As a result, if you’ve played and enjoyed any of the modern or semi-modern adventure games, you’re already well aware of the game’s mechanics. You’ll be scouring your environment looking for useful items, then applying or combining those items in inventive and sometimes nonsensical ways in order to make it past the obstacles in your day.

Believe it or not, that pile of  twisted metal back there is a sign of success.

Believe it or not, that pile of twisted metal back there is a sign of success.

I was pleased that the developers didn’t go hardcore old school, as they included the ever-useful option to reveal hotspots by pressing the spacebar. Perhaps other people adored the tedious process of sweeping the mouse pointer across every inch of the screen looking for which patch of dirt was somehow different from every other patch of dirt, but not me. A few more adjustments have been made to speed one’s navigation of the game and its puzzles, including the usage of the mouse wheel to bring up the inventory. It is remarkable how much time a little thing like that can shave off the overall “dealing with UI rather than playing the game” total.

The puzzles I encountered, which sharply escalate in difficulty as you roll deeper into the game, were just what I was expecting. Some are obvious, others are frustrating, and some are frustratingly obvious. There’s a degree of masochism in every adventure gamer, I feel. You just don’t feel satisfied until you’ve struck a puzzle that requires you to test every item in your inventory before you find the proper one.

Visually, the game is excellent. The aesthetic is cartoony, and the animation is considerably more than I’d expected. In a cel-style animated game it is fairly standard to have just a handful of actual motions, which are then mixed and matched to the events and interactions of the game. Randal’s Monday has more animation than I’ve seen in some of the bigger budget adventure games in the past.

Some of our main characters. And also some drunk guy.

Some of our main characters. And also some drunk guy.

In addition to the animation, there’s the detail. If you are at all a pop culture nut, each screenshot of this game is a hidden picture game waiting to happen. Just a glimpse at Randal’s apartment include references to Tetris, Resident Evil, Legend of Zelda, the Big Lebowski, and more. Game and movie references are crammed into every corner. Street names evoke Lucas Arts classics. Clotheslines have classic game controllers hanging from them.  You almost feel proud of yourself for knowing what each little throwaway gag references.

The voice acting is above average too, and all dialogue I came across was fully acted, not just a handful of characters or the more crucial scenes. There is a lot of dialogue, particularly in the introduction portion of the game. It almost becomes a weakness after a while. The writing is witty at times, but almost always it is coarse for the sake of being coarse. If you’re the kind of person who gets a kick out of a five minute conversation about binge drinking, the associated vomiting, and the nicknames associated with the associated vomiting, then this game is for you. For people with less inherently scatological tastes you might find yourself saying, “Yes. Okay. I get it. Let’s move on.” Fortunately, much of that can be avoided simply by tapping escape, as non-puzzle dialogue is largely skippable.

I can't tell if this is a reference to Big Bang Theory.

I can’t tell if this is a reference to Big Bang Theory.

 

As I state in the obligatory disclaimer, I was playing a preview, and I suspect all of the things I encountered that irritated me about the game (with the exception of the sense of humor from time to time) came from that preview status. More than once I managed to suddenly quit the game by accidentally tapping Q on my keyboard. (Don’t ask why my fingers were floating in that area, since the game can be played almost entirely with the mouse. Muscle memory causes my hand to align over wasd when playing games.) I had a heck of a time figuring out how to save, or if I had done so correctly, so I found myself playing the game from the start more than once. That lengthy introductory video, by the way? Not skippable.

Other than that, I’d say Randal’s Monday is shaping up to be a pretty solid game. There is a fairly substantial hunk of the gaming community who bear a not-too-subtle resemblance to Randal’s attitude, and the events and theme of this game will suit them quite well. For everyone else, if you can shrug off a few crass jokes, you’ll find a well-made adventure game with very high production value.

 

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About Decoychunk

Editor, Writer, and general Knower-Of-Words, if there is text to be read on BrainLazy, Joseph Lallo probably has his fingerprints on it. As the final third of the ownership and foundation of BrainLazy, Joseph “Jo” Lallo made a name for himself when he lost the “e” from his nickname in an arm wrestling match with a witch doctor. Residing in the arid lowlands of the American Southwest, Joseph Lallo is a small, herbivorous, rabbit-like creature with the horns of an antelope. He sleeps belly up, and his milk can be used for medicinal purposes. Joseph Lallo is also author of several books, including The Book of Deacon Series, book 1 of which is available for free here.