Review Roundup: RAD, Heave Ho, Agent A & More!

Round up, round up!

Fun for everyone this month. Except for Grandma. No fun for her.

Okay, fine. Grandma can play too.


RAD

From the ever-entertaining minds at Double Fine comes an 80s-fueled trek through the apocalypse. This isometric third-person action-adventure centers around throwing kids out into the wasteland to complete a quest for their enclave, armed only with a magical bat. The baseball kind, not the animal.

As you progress, you’ll earn new mutations and abilities, some of which are hilariously weird (like suddenly have a spitting cobra head with a really long neck). The downside is the unforgiving permadeath rogue-like nature of the game. Progress can become frustrating when you suddenly die and lose all your mutations and have to start again. If you can take the difficulty, though, there’s a lot of great personality and fun to be had.

[Reviewed on Switch]

7/10


Heave Ho

When it comes to bizarre fun, Devolver Digital seldom disappoints and such is the case with this truly weird multiplayer-centric bit of insanity. Players take the role of little blob-ish things with two arms. They move by rolling and grabbing the surface of their world with each hand, and therein lies the challenge.

Having to account for inertia when precariously hanging by one hand, as you swing to reach another wall to quickly grab with the other hand is both frantic and fun. In multiplayer, players must work together to climb on each other and world obstacles. It’s a hilarious oddity likely to get lost in the shuffle, but a party game definitely worth checking out.

[Reviewed on PC]

8/10


Mable & the Wood

Another platformer created largely by one person over the course of several years, Mable is gunning to give Celeste a run for its money in both challenge level and charm. The game uses the shape-shifting abilities of its protagonist to create a kind of slingshot-style of gameplay.

You start out with a sword, for instance, that allows you to turn into a fairy and briefly fly while the sword remains anchored. Press the button again and the sword zips back to you in a straight line, cutting through whatever is in the way. As Mable beats various bosses, like a giant spider and rock monster, she gets their powers, which all work in a similar way. It’s creative and distinct, and also frequently frustrating as hell.

[Reviewed on PC]

7/10


AER: Memories of Old

AER is a flat-out gorgeous, low-poly dream of a game. With hints of Journey, Zelda, Fe and other games that rely on their evocative atmosphere and sense of exploration, this beautiful chill adventure gives players a whole island range in the sky to explore. You can transform into a bird at any point when outside and just fly around, taking in the amazing sights and listening to the superb score.

The problem with AER is length. At maybe a couple of hours or so to beat, with a story that doesn’t feel entirely resolved, I wanted more. The gameplay and world are so enjoyable that AER deserves the epic treatment of a full-on adventure.

[Reviewed on Switch]

7/10


Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise

A clever puzzler with a great 1960s-era spy theme, Agent A is definitely a game designed for mobile touch screens (it started life on the iPhone). As a result, while you can play it on a docked Switch (with a moving cursor replacing your actual fingers) or PS4 and Xbox, it’s most at home on a portable.

The gameplay is similar to other hidden object games, but the stylized look and groovy vibe give it a definite leg up. You’ll do a lot of tapping on things, object manipulation puzzles, and searching each room for hidden codes, safes and other secret things across a variety of locations and missions. Puzzles range from incredibly obvious to frustratingly obscure, but in general, Agent A is a solid little puzzler.

[Reviewed on Switch]

7/10