If being a schizophrenic telepath with amnesia sounds confusing…it’s also frustrating.
Developer: We the Force Studios
Publisher: We the Force Studios
Platform: PlayStation 4 (version reviewed), PC, Mac, Linux
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Randall is probably not very high on your list of games to play for June. Heck, it’s probably not anywhere near that list. The only list you’ll find “Randall” on is the one titled “Names to give your Rascally Cat,” right between “Quincy” and “Rufus,” and that’s exactly where it should stay.
Randall, the game, is a side-scrolling platformer and the debut title by We The Force. The game centers around the titular Randall, a slightly schizophrenic telepath with no memory and an affinity for his own hair. That is pretty much all the characterization you get in this 5-10-hour slog through the cyberpunk dystopia known as Nook. Yep, it’s called Nook. The post-apocalyptic, grungey, Orwellian wasteland of…Nook. Sort of like if that raccoon guy from Animal Crossing took over the village and installed a bunch of giant buzz saws and laser grids, instead of running the general store. But I digress.
The story is pretty forgettable. Randall wakes up. He punches people. He talks to himself. There is a villain named Chilpa who is super evil, because…reasons. You gotta kill him. Blah. Blah. Blah. The main problem with the story is not that it’s bad; it’s that it’s bad, and it’s doled out in hard to follow cutscenes and dialogue bubbles that are rife with misspellings and odd phrasing. And without further ado:
My Top 5 Weird Randall Dialogue Moments or whatever:
- “IUU, this place smells badly!” – Randall
- “Holly cow! I think the butcher of these place went too far…” – Randall
- “Of course you will always fall in love with the first girl you see…” – Some girl Randall kills
- “High five, little wolverine with skinny jeans!” – Randall
- “Wojooou my head is spinning like a Rocket… No more tequila shots for this skinny legs.” – Randall
That last one is the first thing Randall says, and it pretty much sums up the rest of the game. Though, I will say I have used “No more tequila shots for this skinny legs” in my daily life more than you would think.
I know what you’re thinking: “Dialogue and story do not a great platformer make.” I agree; Mario only knows, like, two words and his name, and nobody is going to make a novelization of the plot of Super Mario Bros. anytime soon (though a live-action film could be interesting). What’s important with platformers is level design. Are they interesting looking? Are they challenging but still enjoyable? Are there varied enemies with different movement styles and attack patterns? In Randall’s case, the answers are yes, sort of, and no.
More from Reviews
- Sonic Dream Team review: A welcome surprise to Apple Arcade
- Nacon’s Revolution 5 Pro for Playstation: Is it worth it?
- Jusant review: An uplifting tale about lifting yourself up
- WarioWare: Move It review: A waggle in the right direction for the series
- Alan Wake 2 review: Am I high right now?
The art style is fun, with neon greens and blues mixed mingling with metallic grays of the factories and streets. It gets a little repetitive as you progress through the levels, but a steady stream of challenging platforming puzzles and environmental hazards keeps the game from getting too boring. Though some levels are some platforming puzzles were so hard I began to question if it was worth it. I steered Randall into so many electric fields, laser beams, and poison clouds that I turned a little schizophrenic myself, at times reassuring myself that it would all be over soon, and at others cursing myself for ever saying I would review it.
For the record, I don’t play many platformers, and there were times in this game where I had no idea where to go and had to walk around until something happened. That could be a reflection on me as a casual gamer, but it could also be Randall‘s fault for not really leading me in any direction.
Occasionally, an old man character that looked like a Navi Gandalf, except shorter, would pop out and say Randall go here. But if you don’t remember where he said to go, you are out of luck because no beacons light up on any maps to guide you. In the end, though, I came out on top by maintaining my composure and reminding myself that if I didn’t defeat Chilpa, no one would – mostly because no one else is going to sink nine hours into this thing.
Which brings me to the biggest letdown in Randall. No, it was not the lack of variation in level design, or the lack of variation in punchable enemies, or the lack of variation in techno music that plays in seemingly every part of this dystopian world. The most disappointing aspect of the entire game is the fact that Randall works so hard to fight and climb and… telepath his way through level after level and all for the most disappointing final boss fight since Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I don’t want to spoil too much so I’ll just say that it’s over before you can say, “No more tequila shots for this skinny legs.”
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.