You awaken in a crate. A crate of all things! With a few firm punches, you’re able to break out and look upon a dark dank room. With no knowledge of where you are, or what is happening, all you know is that you are Randall and you have excellent hair.
Randall is a platform beat-em-up from the team at We Are The Force. Set in the dark city of Nook, nearly everyone has been turned into mindless drones and patrol the streets ready to beat down on anyone who isn’t one of them. A substance known as “Blue Electricity” has allowed the advancement in technology and seemed to better the world, but this brought on addiction which then allowed for manipulation.
As Randall you don’t have a vast arsenal of weaponry at your disposal. Bare knuckles and your mind is all that you have at your disposal, and it’s all you need. With no memory of what is going on, you also don’t recall what you’re capable of. As you explore the city you come across pieces of graffiti on the walls which remind you and unlock abilities. Initially, these are exploratory abilities like wall jumping and clinging to ledges. But eventually, this begins to turn more attack-focused abilities, with telepathic stuns and even mind control. Each new ability lets you tackle bigger and badder enemies.
Enemies themselves are quite diverse, ranging from small-time henchmen, bigger brutish thugs with stun batons, and even floating turrets. Each requires a different approach to take them on. However, you’re no martial artist and can only tackle a single enemy at a time, which is half the challenge when faced with a room full of enemies. Divide and conquer!
Combos are key to quickly and efficiently defeating enemies. The further you progress and the more abilities you unlock, the more you can chain up bigger and better combos. 1-2 punches turn into uppercuts and full blown body slams. Watching the combo count steadily climb and enemies steadily falling feels ever so satisfying.
Bosses consist of an even more tactical approach. No going toe-to-toe with a 15 foot mech. These require patience, deft movement around their attacks, and timing to use the environment against them at just the right time. Nothing new for boss battles but still very enjoyable.
What was strange though was the death animations of the enemies. If I emptied their health bar leaving them laid out on the ground, every time the enemy would jump back up to only collapse back in a heap. This felt really disjointed for a death animation and I felt that it would've just been better and simpler to leave them laying in the heap I put them in.
The art style of the game has it’s own distinct look and works really well with the genre and style of the game. When first booting up Randall I was impressed with the initial look and feel. This is a world I could loose myself in and really enjoy.
That was until the difficulty ramped up. As soon as the numbers of characters on screen started jumping up, the frame rate dove for cover. There were many instances where the frame rates dropped and even the screen freezing with the game runs on behind. This ended with me button bashing, praying that I didn't get my ass whooped whilst staring at the frozen view.
As I pushed on, more cracks started to show. Pressing buttons began to not register, needing multiple presses to be acknowledged, making areas where quick movements were needed to navigate a puzzle unnecessarily frustrating.
The worst bug, which was nearly game breaking, was an enemy needed for navigation de-spawned as you approached to only respawn as you walked away. After some screen switching and fast travelling, the bug seemed to subside. Still a disappointing bug to come across.
With a strong and bold start, Randall has a lot to offer, but the further in you delve the more the game shows cracks and begins to let itself down.
Environment exploration and tactical combat are areas where Randall excel in a brilliantly dark environment, but a range of bugs and aspects which feel unpolished and under tested let the game down. Maybe with a few patches, it can pick itself back up and show what it’s made of.
- Dark and moody world
- Fun combat and exploration
- Drops in frame rates
- Far too many bugs