Super Rad Raygun takes us back to the era when big hair, shoulder pads, and MTV were popular and the fear of communism was alive and well. It was a different time and it’s a time we all love revisiting in media, whether we were alive at the time or not. There was a joyous and steadfast spirit that was alive and well in the 80s and it’s always nice to experience it vicariously. Super Rad Raygun does a wonderful job of not only capturing this spirit but also in building it within a charming and fitting tribute to the original Game Boy.
With style and a whole lot of passion, Super Rad Raygun transports you to the 80s and the self-aware nature of the game just makes it that much more enjoyable. When games break the fourth wall it isn’t always as cheeky or clever as the developer intended, but that’s not at all the case here. Dialogue between characters often caused a smile to form on my face while still keeping me invested in the action. The conversations felt fitting for the characters and not just as asides between you and the developer. It really helped set a casual tone right at the start so that you know not to take the game too seriously. The gameplay itself is very serious in its design and the expectations that it asks of the player but the story and atmosphere is pure bite-sized fun.
From the start it’s going to feel like a Mega Man game and that’s not a bad thing because it forms its own identity without relying too much on one of its most clear inspirations. This is mostly done in the atmosphere and the world created around the gameplay though. Rad’s personality is what helps differentiate it so much from other similar games. As far as the gameplay goes, you’ll run, jump, shoot and power yourself up through multiple levels that all have a unique feel to them as you save America from the dreaded Soviets. The gameplay is simple while still being enjoyable. It’s a straight forward 2D run-and-gun platformer where you’ll go from screen to screen blasting enemies and battling different bosses. You’re able to collect bits and batteries to increase Rad’s power. It’s a nice system and certainly adds some additional variety to the mix but it isn’t entirely satisfying. It won’t be too long before Rad feels too powerful and some sections and enemies feel too easy. I felt like I was just running through the motions as I reached later portions of the game. It was still fun but if it weren’t for the humor or the soundtrack, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much.
Don’t get me wrong though; this is still a really fun game. I just mean that the saying “it takes a village” is very true here. The way everything comes together is what makes this game as great as it is. There are shortcomings in its design but it pulls together and is able to cover some of its shortcomings. Besides feeling too overpowered as I got further in the game, I also didn’t enjoy the inconsistent difficulty curve. There were so many sections that were just brutal but then I’d be in an area that felt overwhelmingly easy. It doesn’t always feel satisfying and I don’t think the game ever finds a perfect balance.
I loved the graphics and it’s definitely a part of what kept me playing. I’m a sucker for the earlier days in gaming and this is especially true when it comes to the Game Boy and the NES. The look of Super Rad Raygun is just perfect and it really helps capture the era that the developer so obviously adores. There were a few spots and enemies that immediately felt out of place but it’s easily forgiven because it still fits the era that the developer wanted to reference and revisit. It also just sort of fits because of how self-aware this game already is in other areas that it only makes sense that the graphics and style are also self-aware sometimes.
I cannot overstate how much I love the music of this game. Super Rad Raygun features incredible and original chiptune music from the likes of FantomenK and Bubble Pipe Media. These beats will keep you playing much longer than the gameplay alone would have and I can assure you that I will be buying the original soundtrack. I wish it was available on Spotify so that I could place a few links here for everyone to enjoy because the soundtrack is nothing short of incredible. It captures the spirit of the 80s just as well as it stirs up the atmosphere of this world. This is a game you’ll definitely want to play with some good headphones or just blare on some high-end speakers.
I had a lot of fun with Super Rad Raygun but I still experienced a few issues along the way. There were a few times where the game would get stuck on loading screens and even restarting the entire game didn’t fix the issue. I was forced to uninstall the game twice and can only be thankful that the majority of my progress was saved by Steam. I was still out on some collected bits and some progress made in levels but thankfully didn’t lose everything. I also kept experiencing a bug where after the loading screen it would go to a much smaller resolution and have a distorted image. It made the game unplayable for me until I discovered that taking an in-game screenshot fixed it for some reason. It wasn’t a perfect system but it got me through the game and of course I have quite the collection of pictures of the bug as well!
The gameplay isn’t as deep as I’d personally like it to be but I know that wasn’t the intention of the developer. They set out to make a fun retro callback to an earlier era in gaming and overall they definitely succeeded. I could have gone with some more upgrade variety and a more consistent difficulty curve but these issues didn’t ruin my experience entirely. I do also wish that there weren’t so many bugs but the developer is hard at work and collecting feedback from users on Steam so I know the experience will only continue to improve.
Super Rad Raygun doesn’t really bring anything new to the table or any major innovations to its genre but it still brought some laughs, fun gameplay, and some incredible music that I’m hoping my neighbors will enjoy. It didn’t really do anything new but it also didn’t necessarily need to; it’s a fun Mega Man style game and hell of a lot better than Mighty Number 9. If you’re a fan of retro inspired games or you enjoy the occasional 2D run-and-gun then I’d definitely recommend picking this up. Before purchasing it though just remember that it doesn’t reinvent the wheel and there are some bugs but it’s definitely still worth checking out.
A Steam Key for Super Rad Raygun was provided by ScrewAttack Games/Rooster Teeth Games for the purpose of this review
I had a lot of fun with Super Rad Raygun despite it having a few issues. I know that I’ll be playing for quite some time and if you’re interested in hearing about my journey then consider following me on Twitter @Mrjoshnichols. I regularly livetweet my thoughts while I play games. If you’ve enjoyed this review and want to read more like them then make sure to check back here often as I contribute reviews and retro reviews each and every month! For other great content like this, make sure to keep it right here at BagoGames!
Super Rad Raygun
- Sharp 144P visuals
- Incredible chiptune music (BUY THIS SOUNDTRACK!)
- Fun gameplay with inspiration from Mega Man and late 80's and early 90's games
- Upgrade system for abilities
- Charming and self-aware dialogue will make you smile
- Some bugs that may cause you to lose progress
- Getting too overpowered makes later sections feel repetitive and too easy
- It doesn't reinvent anything but does what it does well
- Inconsistent difficulty curve