Version – 1.03
Randal’s Monday is a game that I’ve been hearing about for a little while and as a fan of old school point and click adventures I’ve been very much looking forward to giving this one a shot.
So I fired it up and got my first look at the twisted world of Randal. At first glance, everything looked to be in place, simple point and click controls, lovely graphics packed with character and pop culture references and full voice over featuring Clerks own Jeff Anderson, no less. Randal, it turns out, is a bit of a dick; sarcastic, rude and not above taking the old five finger discount, even from his best friend; don’t worry, though, he gets his comeuppance. Randal goes out to celebrate his best mates’ engagement and after a few too many beverages, ends up stealing the engagement ring, which it turns out is cursed. His mate offs himself and Randal is trapped in time, Groundhog Day style, until he can get back the ring and save his friend. Unfortunately, that is much easier said than done.
Experienced point and clickers will be right at home, left click sends Randal wandering around, while the right brings up a wheel of options, talk, look and use. There is one nice addition, pressing the spacebar shows all the interactive elements on the screen; some might see this as cheating, but it does come in handy for finding the hidden item you’re missing, or an elusive exit.
For a game set in a small number of locations, there is a surprising amount of variety, and not just the literally thousands of pop culture references; infact they are everywhere you turn. For example, Randal lives on Threepwood Street.
Most references don’t even get specific mentions, but there is something strangely gratifying about going “oh, cool, a Delorean!’ You see, everything Randal touches on one day carries over to the next ‘day’. So, for instance, break a fire escape on one day and it will still be broken the next time you wake up, even though it is the same day, if you get me.
The universe bends around these issues, changing the past to make it all fit, if a little haphazardly. This is great for making visits to oft-used locations a bit more interesting. You also keep everything in your inventory so something picked up on day one might not be useful until day four or five. So as each day passes, the world and the puzzles get more complicated.
This is where Randal’s Monday will probably divide opinion. Some of the puzzles are clever. Perhaps too clever. When you figure one out ,you’ll wonder how you didn’t get it sooner. However, the further you get into the game, the more convoluted and crazy they get. There’s definitely more than a couple where I was left wondering ‘how the hell would I have come to that conclusion’. Similarly, it isn’t always clear what you’re trying to accomplish and a few times I was left wandering around, talking to everyone to figure out exactly what I had to do to close out the day.
There is a hints feature if you get well and truly stuck – and you almost certainly will later in the game – although maybe ‘hint’ is the wrong word. The hints section tells you step by step exactly what you have to do to solve the puzzle, all you have to do is sacrifice a digital cat – but who likes cats anyway. There is no real punishment for using the hints, aside form losing out on a potential Steam achievement and the respect of your peers, so it is better than getting stuck and resorting to the use everything with everything style of puzzle solving, but it would have been nice for there to be either easier puzzles or more of a punishment for ‘cheating’.
The Good Stuff
- Super graphics
- Excellent voice acting
- Head scratching puzzles
- Helpful guide if you get stuck
The Bad Stuff
- There are still a few bugs to be ironed out
- Some incredibly convoluted, multi-stage puzzles that can frustrate
- Some really long talking bits with no interaction
Randal’s Monday is irreverant, funny and features some really interesting ideas that haven’t been seen quite like this anywhere else. If you’re a fan of the genre. especially the good old adventure gaming days, you will find plenty to love here. However, some of the puzzles are, to put it mildly, long and complicated and those new to point and click games may find them more than a little frustrating.