Randall’s Monday, by Nexus Game Studio, is a point and click adventure game that channels Sam & Max, Clerks, and about a thousand pop culture references to movies, gaming and all things geek. It tries very hard to convince you of certain things, such as that it is a great game that is outright hilarious at points, but in the end it becomes an exercise in repetition and attempting to try every item in combination with every other item to progress.
Now don’t get me wrong, I may not be The Riddler, but when it comes to most logic problems I usually have little to no issue, but some of the logic leaps that this title takes seem almost arbitrary. An example out of the prologue is that you need to release a latch on the fire escape, but a mangy cat is preventing you from getting too close. A broom cannot be used on the cat, because the character does not wish to harm animals. It also cannot be used on the latch holding the ladder up, BUT if you take the rubber duck from the coat hanger, attach it to the end of the broom and then use it on the latch, magically it is now more suitable, the ladder falls, and the cat goes flying to uncertain injury/demise.
The puzzles in the game are comical, and definitely require some nonlinear thinking, but it seems like most of the collectible items are red herrings, and most of the things you can interact with are simply excuses for the main character to make some witty remark as to why he should not lick the fridge or take his Mega Man helmet, branded with a Rogue Squadron symbol, with him on his quest.
I find the graphics to be simple, but not in a manner that detracts from the game, very similar to the aforementioned Sam & Max, if it were made in Flash by an absolute guru at the platform, although the title is very clearly not a flash game. The artificial depth perception in the game is never in question, and it doesn’t feel like any of the objects are cardboard cutouts facing the screen, which says a lot from a title that has no way of adjusting the camera angle to help try and look around.
The story is something I wanted to get interested in. It really seems like a lot of effort went into this title, and they got some very great voice acting to boot, but I honestly didn’t make it through the prologue before I started clicking past the dialogue to get on with it. Half of the conversations are nonsensical and pointless, and the other half are just nonsensical. Having four dialogue choices is only the illusion of choice if you still have to click through all four options before the gameplay progresses, afterall.
All in all, there were some interesting choices made with this title, ones that I have mixed feelings on, but that do not outright detract from the final product. In a point and click adventure, there are always going to need to be invisible gates to the plot, and there will always be puzzles that are too simple for some and too obtuse for others, but the goal is to make even the frustration an enjoyable prospect. The endless permutations of item combinations is addressed by the character being a kleptomaniac, and the endless antics are justified by borderline sociopathic behaviour.
If you like Sam & Max, I strongly advocate that you give this title a try when it comes out on the 12th.
Review by Marc