There is a fine line with weird games. This delicate line is the difference between a weird game that actually feels like it’s interesting and compelling, and a weird game that makes no sense whatsoever. Small Radios Big Televisions often times blurs that line. It creates an almost comprehensible plot that feels like there’s just enough going on to keep you interested while simultaneously having incredibly lackluster gameplay that often feels like there’s something missing.
The core concept of Small Radios Big Televisions is that you are exploring these different areas that are all somehow interconnected. At some point, virtual reality tapes were created and this seems to have caused…something to have happened. You go around collecting these remaining tapes and entering these virtual reality worlds to collect keys which unlock different doors.
Moreover, when you collect these tapes, you can find magnets throughout the world which will corrupt the videos, changing these worlds. It’s an interesting concept, but when you go into these worlds, all you do is point to pick up the keys. These environments are creepy and cool looking, but all you do is point and click.
Each level is designed kind of like a diorama. You rotate the level and enter a room. Each room is presented in 2d form, which you can then interact with. The actual puzzle solving is minimal at best and the most challenging puzzles won’t take you more than a few minutes to solve. It’s obvious that the main thing the designers wanted to show was these weird worlds and that’s fine but as a game it becomes tiresome fast. Even the hidden challenges in each level only require you to click on certain air ducts and collect the treasure inside and doing that gives you absolutely nothing more. There’s no bonus level, no big revelation. Just something extra to collect.
Playing on the PS4 presents another interesting problem. It`s a point and click game so you’d think that you’d just point and click with the right stick. However, in a mind-blowingly bad decision, the center of the screen acts as a magnet and constantly pulls the cursor towards it. This means that you are constantly fighting the controls in a point and click game. That’s a sentence that should never be said. Hopefully, using a mouse doesn’t create this issue, but on consoles it feels nearly unplayable.
Small Radios Big Televisions has some ambition, for sure, but the actual finished product just feels wrong. The control issues aside, there’s not much of an actual game here. That’s fine, but the repetition of doing the same thing over and over, and the vagaries presented throughout, don’t make it any more interesting. The corrupted tapes create some visually interesting stuff, but aside from that there’s little here.
SCORE: 4.0 out of 10
A code for Small Radios Big Televisions was provided to Pixel Related for review.