PC/Mac Reviews

Randal’s Monday Review: A Case of the Mondays

logoRandalsMonday Randal’s Monday is, if nothing else, a weird game. Clearly inspired by Kevin Smith, the game uses characters and voice actors from the View Askewniverse, yet at the same time is clearly not taking place in that same world. The game uses a lot of referential humor, while at the same time it often avoids outright saying what the references are from. But strangest, and perhaps most frustrating of all, is that it’s a point and click adventure game with what feels like the same amount of dialog as a Bioware game.

Randal’s Monday stars a guy named Randal but that fact makes Randal’s Monday a weird game on its own. So, Randal is a character from the Clerks series of films and is played by Jeff Anderson. Jeff Anderson also does the voice work for Randal in Randal’s Monday, but the Randal in this game isn’t the same Randal as the one in Clerks. It gets even weirder when Jay and Silent Bob, voiced by Jason Mewes and someone who clearly isn’t Kevin Smith, show up later in the game. It doesn’t feel like it was something intentionally deceptive but it does get a bit confusing if you think the game is tied into Kevin Smith’s films.

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Randal is your average sociopathic kleptomaniac. However, when his best friend gets engaged, Randal steals his friend’s engagement ring. Unbeknownst to him, the ring is actually cursed and puts Randal into a time loop, forcing him to relive the same day over and over again. On top of that, his best friend is driven mad each day by not having the ring and kills himself.  Each day is a quest to try to break the loop and stop his friend from killing himself.

As you solve puzzles and days progress, you will be able to make slight, permanent changes to the world. The items that you interact with in the environment will almost always change, so if you break a door or gain a subway pass, those things will be stable for each day. However, the personalities of people will change as you go through each day. One day, someone might be pissed off at you and the next day they might love you, depending on what you did for them the day before. It’s an interesting concept and in a lot of places in the game, it works pretty well. One day in particular has this weird subplot about how koalas have basically taken the place of stray cats. This also allows for a lot of interesting puzzles that genuinely can be difficult.

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Sometimes your actions will change the environment in a way that you didn’t realize, making you explore around the world for any and all differences. However, several of these puzzles can be convoluted to say the least. One puzzle in particular, which involves figuring out how to straighten a wire by using a blender can be extremely tough to figure out. There’s clearly an internal logic that the game has, however it can often be difficult to pinpoint what it wants you to do.

The biggest problem the game has, though, isn’t the difficult puzzles. Rather, it’s the dialog; the copious, often times mean-spirited dialog. Randal’s Monday advertises itself as being a dark comedy and that almost feels like an understatement. Almost every time that Randal’s friend kills himself, you see the gory remains, whether it be his burned corpse, his frozen body or his guts sprayed across the walls, and every time without fail, the game makes it a joke. There are plenty of times where Randal says some of the most bitter, mean-spirited things you’ll have ever heard in a game.

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Clearly, this is the point of his character. The man is a sociopathic, kleptomaniac with nearly no redeeming qualities. While this might have been made to make him a stand out character, it certainly doesn’t make you feel sympathy for him. Moreover, almost every other person in this world has a similar attitude. They’re all the worst people you’ve ever seen in a game. It’d be easier to look past if the game didn’t load itself so full of dialog.

There are so many conversations that tangent off into several different topics that it becomes hard to actually listen to them. Even when you try to skip through the dialog, there’s so much dialog that it’ll take you a minute or two just to get back to the game. These conversations really became dull near the middle of the game. While the final chapter is absolutely fantastic, there’s so much pointless dialog that you might not make it there.

Randal’s Monday also uses a ton of pop culture references. These can be really hit or miss at times. There’s some fantastic references to Shawshank Redemption and Blade Runner, but for every one of these, there’s a pointless Rod Sterling reference that happens for no real reason what so ever. It feels like the creators of the game wanted to include a lot of references to pop culture but weren’t sure of what was too much.

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Randal’s Monday is a fairly decent puzzle game. Repeating the same day with different outcomes is a neat mechanic that creates some pretty challenging puzzles. However, the mean spirited and repetitious dialog can wear thin on you after a few hours. It has some real potential but its middle section drags on for far too long, despite the really well-crafted ending.

SCORE: 7.0 out of 10

A code for Randal’s Monday was provided to Pixel Related for review. 

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