You have already conquered the post-apocalypse in numerous games - but what about the post-post-apocalypse? Double Fine's new top-down Rogue-like RAD drops you into a world that has been blown to pieces by not one, but two apocalyptic incidents.
As usual, it's now up to the young people to save the planet and the third age of humankind. You play as a teenager from a small village called The Fallow, chosen by the city elders to travel into the unknown to find a replacement for your community's broken power source. You get teleported to random parts of the game's world, where you need to connect gates by activating Totems. Your teenage avatar's DNA is the key to survival, as it has been altered to absorb the toxins, the so-called RADs. However, the future of humanity demands a high price. The deeper you travel into unknown areas, the more you expose yourself to their toxins, which either bless or curse you with strange new mutations.
How do the mutations work?
You start every run in the game as a teenager with a baseball bat, but your body changes over time as your RAD gauge fills up. There is one helpful burnt-in mutation: your character leaves a trail of green growth wherever he goes. His body transforms deadly toxins into new life, transforming the wasteland into a liveable future world. These grassy paths can help you track your steps and figure out where to go in the procedurally generated world, while also giving you a speed boost when walking on. Otherwise, you won't be able to choose your mutations, which completely randomizes every run of the game. One of the mutations is the Firearm, which allows you to baptize mutants with globs of fire, another is called Withering, which makes the protagonist emit noxious puffs to slow and enfeeble mutants and projectiles.
Coping with your mutations on the fly is the key to survival in RAD. You can evolve throughout the game, get multiple Exo mutations at once, combine them, or use them one after another. They all have an obvious use case and several other, not so obvious, applications that you can learn throughout the game. As with all great Rogue-likes, discovering bizarre tricks and unexpected synergies is a big part of the fun. Successful runs through Rad's three different Biomes take an average of about an hour. The way your body transforms can dramatically affect the pace of your progress.
The game is soaked in the neon lights of an 80s aesthetic, with bright colors, hard-to-synthesize jams, cassettes as currency and floppy disks as chest keys. It not only features a huge external world to explore but also hidden interiors, like a bomb shelter. Running on the Unreal Engine 4, the cyberpunk shooter proves once again that Unreal's universal engine is also suitable for top-down games. Developer Double Fine Productions and publisher Bandai Namco are releasing RAD this summer, so make sure your body is ready for unexpected mutations!