I started my gamer life in the 1980’s and the original Gameboy had as much play time as my PC and console of the day. That puts Super Rad Raygun right up my alley. TRU FUN Entertainment has done a phenomenal job emulating the look and feel, as well as the sounds, of those classic Gameboy games. The first time I started Super Rad Raygun up, it took me right back to my childhood.
Super Rad Raygun was released in November of 2016 under publisher ScrewAttack, who became a division of Rooster Teeth Games in November of 2015. The game is set in the 1980’s and is full of pop culture references and political satire. The current president is Ronald Reagan, and the United States is currently under attack by the Russians. It seems that all of the armed services are tied up with keeping the president safe, which leaves the fight against the Russians to a little robot named Rad Raygun. This isn’t Rad’s first appearance in a game either. TRU FUN Entertainment’s first in the series was Rad Raygun, which was an XBox Live Indie Game that launched in February of 2013, having only five levels and limited abilities to upgrade available.
Rad is a small robot created by Dr. Yokoi who looks like the love child of the original Gameboy and Bomberman (with an arm cannon not too unlike Mega Man). He is chocked full of abilities that can be upgraded and learns special moves as the game progresses. Two of the abilities I really got a kick out of are his clear protective case, used as armor, and back lighting, which is necessary for levels that only allow you to see what you can light up. Batteries are used as his upgrade points and can be found throughout levels in the game, most of them can be found in hidden locations. Instead of coins, Rad collects bits. The bits are used as currency to buy additional battery slots for all of his abilities. Batteries can be swapped around to different abilities at any point during the game, so feel free to experiment. Just like the batteries, boxes full of bits are hidden in many of the levels, so there is plenty to hunt for as you go. On top of all of that, there is also an energy meter that drains as Rad jumps and shoots. If that meter runs out, he will need to rest for a bit before his energy begins to regenerate, so resource management is yet another layer added on top of the usual platformer standards.
Super Rad Raygun boasts over 21 levels, and three game modes available to play. At the start of the game, Rad is in the United States, but the levels span all across the globe, allowing for plenty of visual variety. The level locations aren’t the only varied aspect of the game, as there are many different robot and Russian enemies to deal with throughout. There are twelve boss battles as well. Add to that three game modes (Story, Boss Rush, and Time Attack) and you have yourself one hell of a bargain for only $9.99.
As I said before, this game has a lot of nostalgia for anyone that grew up with the original Gameboy. It even goes so far as to emulate some of the traits that were present in older games due to the very limited memory of handhelds and consoles of that generation. Thankfully this game doesn’t rest on nostalgia alone. I get hopeful when I see new platformers come out, but time and again I’m left disappointed. The movement isn’t quite right, the jump timing is slightly off, or it’s just made way too easy. I’ve had none of those issues with Super Rad Raygun. The controls feel spot on, and the chiptune tracks remind me of so many classic games. I love how challenging the game is as well. Once you get past the intro level the difficulty starts to ramp up. It’s evident that the guys at TRU FUN Entertainment are very familiar with what makes a solid platformer.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article that my passion for games began in the 80’s, which makes the pop culture references and political jokes for this game very familiar to me. Each new boss I encounter have made me laugh by their names alone. Mad Donna, Dianna Wraith, and someone mentioned early on named Heir Metal, just to name a few. During one level, I even came across and had dialogue with a few guys who looked oddly similar to Run D.M.C. It all hits home for me and I’ve enjoyed every reference I caught.
So, if platformers are your thing, and you love the 80’s (but don’t let it turn you away if not), then you should definitely check out Super Rad Raygun. It is worth every penny and then some. Before you go, check out the Let’s Play video I created that covers the first stage and Dr. Yokoi’s lab, down below.