‘Randall’ Review: Tackling a Not-So-Far-Off Dystopian Future
I sure have played a lot of platformers in my time. That makes me sound like an old man, which I am not. Generally, each platformer shares some of the same mechanics as the last. Randall is a platformer that stands out in certain areas but also falters in others. Let me set the story for you before we get into this one.
In Randall, you play as, well, Randall, a telepath who suffers from slight schizophrenia. You live in a world that, honestly, probably isn’t too far off from the future we’re headed towards now. Everyone seems to be just okay with constantly being under surveillance. You are tasked with taking down the overlords in this dystopian future. The plot is laid out for you from here and isn’t really all that hard to follow. There’s dialogue between the different characters you run into; it’s actually pretty interesting to read sometimes. While reading conversations between characters, I noticed a few references and jokes that I’ve seen on the Internet before.
Unfortunately, none of the characters I have met have really been memorable. I think there was a character you met before entering each new area of the city, and I can’t for the life of me remember their name. Randall, himself, was a little dry but had his moments. He’s hardened by his lifestyle, but he still finds time to make a joke here and there.
The setting of the game matches the story themes. I have a secret love for all things dystopian, whether they are movies or games. So, I guess you can say that this one already had some positive points going into it. The ambiance and the sound for the game matched the setting well. I felt like I was traversing through a dystopian future with the drab coloration and sounds, but it all works together.
This sets up the platforming mechanics in the game. For the most part, the layout of each area works well. Not only does it work well but it presents a challenge—some of the most challenging platforming since I’ve played Super Meat Boy. There were times where I wanted to just walk away from my PC in anger, which is insane because I never get angry at games. This one was one of the first to really get under my skin. Though, some of the deaths were in part to some key press lag. I found plenty of times where I would put in the command to jump and Randall just wouldn’t work with me.
Along with traversing the dystopian (we sure are using that word a lot huh?) obstacles in the world, there is some combat mixed in here. Randall can learn a slew of abilities; some physical, some not-so-physical. By this, I mean that Randall, at a certain point, can take control of his opponents’ minds and force them to fight for him. He needs it because the combat in the game is less than satisfactory. The fact that I can only fight one enemy at a time really irks me. When there are multiple enemies at once, I want to group them all up and fight them all at once. Nope.You’re actually told to separate them as you can only target one at a time. There is a command to pull an enemy away to single them out—the problem here is that there are enemies that used ranged attacks. Say you have a group of enemies that you are fighting, you could be pummeling one and the others in the group will just have their way with you. Randall can dodge out of the way, which will block attacks if you pass through them. I didn’t personally find the bosses to be too challenging after a couple rounds of learning the tactics.
You’re actually told to separate them as you can only target one at a time. There is a command to pull an enemy away to single them out—the problem here is that there are enemies that use ranged attacks. Say you have a group of enemies you’re fighting. You could be pummeling one and the others in the group will just have their way with you. At least Randall can dodge out of the way, which will block attacks if you pass through them. With these systems in place, I didn’t find the bosses to be too challenging after a couple rounds of learning the tactics.
Randall conveys an image of the future that doesn’t seem too far off. It tells a story of a man trying to lead a revolution to overthrow the overlords keeping an eye on everyone. Randall is a pretty alright platformer; there are many challenging parts that will really try your patience. The ambiance and setting of the game are shown well enough through the design and sound. Fighting your enemies is lackluster, though, and I found myself dying a lot due to the fact that I could only target one opponent at a time.
The platforming was equally as frustrating at times. There were always obstacles in your path that would either instantly kill you or drain your health at such a rate that made it impossible to get out safely. There are plenty of platformers out there, and each one, ideally, stands apart from the last. Randall will make a mark in my book as one to remember, but only for a small period of time until the next great platformer releases.
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Review statement: The copy of this game was supplied by the developer for the sake of this review.