Let’s Play Randal’s Monday: The Opening Episode Preview
Nexus Game Studios’ Randal’s Monday is the first major title for the studio, and its official release is only a few weeks away, so I took it for a spin and recorded my first go around with it in the Let’s Play video above.
Randal’s Monday is inspired by old school point-and-click adventures from gaming’s early days, and features a very deep story driven adventure that is full of pop culture references, vulgar humor, and puzzles that will rack your brain as if you were trying to debunk Einstein’s theory of relativity. You play as Randal, who is voiced by Jeff Anderson, the actor that played a different Randal in Kevin Smith’s Clerks. Anderson brings a familiar voice to the game and does a great job delivering the sarcastic dialogue that floods Randal’s Monday, and the supporting cast also comes through on the script, even if there’s a bit too much cheeky dialogue to weed through.
Visually the game is beautiful and resembles Family Guy a bit. The game world is carefully crafted and littered with pop culture references that all geeks will smile over when they spot them. The color palette is rich, the textures are clear, and there are no framerate issues at this point in the game’s development. It really does feel like you’re playing a cartoon, albeit one that is full of toilet humor and sensationalized violence.
The narrative revolves around a magic ring that Randal essentially steals from his best friend Matt, and sells it to a pawn shop because he’s a lazy bum that can’t hold a job down and he has to pay rent. It’s later found that the ring has magical powers and has set the space time continuum into disarray, which causes Randal to relive his Monday over and over until he can make things right in the world and save his friends from certain doom.
The gameplay consists of exploring various locations and picking up items that you may need to use later in the game for one of its puzzles. There’s also heavy amounts of dialogue to sift through to progress the story and potentially find clues for the puzzles. At times you as the player can choose what to say to the various NPCs, but it didn’t appear that the dialogue options could actually change the game’s script.
The meat of the action revolves around puzzles, but these puzzles don’t really consist of pushing buttons, or moving blocks. In fact, the puzzles are very cryptic, and at times they can become overly frustrating because the solutions are never clear. The game tells you that the puzzles will get more difficult as the story progresses, but by the time you hit the second puzzle in the game, you’ll be hard pressed to figure it out without going through a monotonous series of trial and error experiments using your inventory. Even then the solution isn’t guaranteed because most of the puzzles require you to have items in your inventory that you may have skipped over in a previous section of the game. You can use the spacebar to highlight items in the world that you can interact with, but like me I feel many people will be overly perplexed by the puzzles and the solutions needed to solve them.
Personally, I’m not a fan of games that take hours to solve puzzles because the solution isn’t clear at all. Puzzles should challenge you, but not to the point where you get fed up with the game and start to develop a bad taste in your mouth for it. Point-and-click games are known for this type of gameplay and insane puzzle solutions, so if you enjoy that type of experience, Randal’s Monday will be right up your wheelhouse. It also doesn’t help that the game is very new and only available to press members, so there is no help to be found online, which will change once the game releases this November.
Randal’s Monday will speak to most geeks who have rooted their existence in pop culture. Its visual design is beautiful, the voice acting is robust, the amount of dialogue is insane, and the story is intriguing, but the puzzles are a bit too cryptic which can become frustrating. Although, if you enjoy old school point-and-click story driven adventures, then Randal’s Monday should provide the type of gaming experience you’ve been searching for in this era of gaming.
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