Randal’s Monday Preview – MOUSE n JOYPAD

Randal’s Monday Preview


Grass is green, sky is blue and Daedalic Entertainment is very fond of point ‘n’ click adventures. Coming from a long line of games published by Daedalic that were usually among the second best in this ancient genre is Randal’s Monday – a rather quirky adventure that looks towards the Groundhog Day for inspiration. I’ve been privileged to play the first couple of chapters of this story and can safely say that the developer, Nexus Game Studios, might be onto something with Randal’s decidedly groundhog-less adventure.

Doing its best to stay within the relatively tight confines of a point ‘n’ click game, Randal’s Monday is a very, very classical adventure game. You’ll be taking control over the titular anti-hero while he wades through what is the worst goddamn Monday ever. Which is basically his fault anyway, so karma sorted that out in a way. While not particularly original, the storyline and dialogues are filled with jokes that are actually funny. Not to forget the royal amount of references to popular media, either. But we’ll get back to this a bit later, as I’d like to lay out the setting of the game’s story first.

It’s Sunday. You’re a devastatingly sociopathic cleptomaniac and you’re celebrating the engagement of your best friend, Matt, with his girlfriend Sally. Being a stupid, stupid little man, Matt flashes his engagement ring in front of Randal while drinking, which makes the latter’s thievery kick in. Not directly, mind you, as Matt drops his wallet – which Randal decides shouldn’t be returned to its owner. As you might have guessed, this is what snowballs into a proper catastrophe with a finale that seems a bit too tragic for what is a humorous and relatively low-profile storyline. It is strangely engaging though, as the characters’ dialogues do have a fair amount of wit to them. The voice-over and graphics help greatly in making Randal’s Monday a fairly intriguing experience. Randal -the sociopathic bastard- is voiced by none other than the infamously sarcastic Jeff Anderson from Clerks, just so you know what you’re in for with this game. The rest of the voice-work doesn’t lag far behind either, so it isn’t difficult to compare Randal’s misadventure to a well-executed comic book or perhaps a cartooney show, even. As you undoubtedly noticed, this game also sports a rather fascinating visual style, reminiscent of the media I mentioned above, but one that also fits perfectly with the given setting. All in all, I can see Randal’s Monday being a proper audio-visual treat in every way.

Storyline-wise, there’s much to be interested in too, since even though the theme of a single day repeating itself for the protagonist to fix what went wrong has been used already, we didn’t have the chance to actually toy around with an idea like that. So it isn’t too original, but it should definitely work in the given context. Most characters come off as either stupid or senseless – which was the intented effect, I presume. The gameworld is a fair bit darker than it might seem at first, so the black humour you’ll come across greatly adds to the whole experience.

What I did find a bit egregious, however, were the puzzles. Pixel hunting can be fun if there are hints given about what the player might be looking for, but as it currently stands, there’s no such thing. You’ll just want to pick up whatever items you can and combine them randomly to try and get something to help you with the task at hand. In a game that depends entirely on different situations and fun dialogues, I feel that long pauses filled with frustrated clicking across the screen shouldn’t be a thing. To each their own, however, as this is exactly what happened in some older adventures that were actually pretty well-received. If only there was more logic to the puzzles themselves.

Aside from that, my only other gripe with Randal’s Monday are the references to geek/pop-culture. I do love them when used in a clever way, and can even see them as an interesting storytelling device should that be the case in the final version of the game, but as it currently stands, it makes the game look as if it’s trying too hard to please its players. There’s a Wookie in a Star Trek uniform in the game, and you have to wonder if that should ever be a thing. My main concern lies in the fact that the game’s characters and story may fall apart as game progresses, leaving this game standing as little more than a reference-dealing machine. The chance of this happenning is low, sure, but there’s a bit too much to take in with all the referencing going on in this title. Storyline, character development and witty (humorous) dialogue is what we want, not that many allusions to other media.

All in all, Randal’s Monday won’t be breaking any of the genre’s long-standing gameplay features. The players will be clicking and guiding the titulary asshole through the game, while solving puzzles along the way. It will, however, serve us a load of quality voice-over, fun dialogues and situations and what may very well be a good storyline as a whole. Only time will tell if the devs change anything important in the final version.