Final week Boss Key stated it was shifting on from Lawbreakers to a “ardour venture.” Now only a handful of days later that zeal venture is out on Steam. I didn’t anticipate such a quick turnaround, however the recreation known as Radical Heights, and it’s a free-to-play, ‘80s recreation show-themed battle royale shooter. Mainly, it’s The Running Man.
And you already know what? I prefer it.
Smash and seize
Okay, “like” is possibly too robust a phrase for what’s right here. I believe it has potential although. Radical Heights cribs plenty of its finest concepts from the arcade basic Smash TV, however I’m hardly going to complain about that. There’s an over-the-top announcer yell-talking dangerous jokes at you, there are “prizes” to choose up. It’s very a lot that kind of recreation present aesthetic, and it matches nicely with the low-stakes setup of battle royale matches.
Money is the breakout distinction between Radical Heights and its predecessors. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite are each centered across the loot. You stroll right into a constructing, you vacuum up all of the weapons and helmets and no matter mendacity on the bottom, you permit. Fortnite launched “Merchandising Machines” lately, letting you commerce crafting supplies for objects, however they’re nonetheless a secondary concern.
In Radical Heights, loot is extra sparse. However, virtually each constructing you enter has a money register or change machines ready inside. Smash them, and also you’ll decide up money. Different instances you’ll discover prizes, like a recreation console, and their money worth will likely be added to your whole.
When you’ve accrued a small fortune, it’s time to purchase. There are weapon and kit distributors in every single place, promoting all the things from armor to distant explosives to weapons. Run as much as the machine, press “E,” and also you’ve obtained your self a shiny new toy. Don’t like what that one’s promoting? Go subsequent door and there’s most likely one other machine. They’re in every single place.
It’s a neat system, and permits Boss Key to twist the battle royale components a bit. My favourite thought in Radical Heights is the ATM. At any level, as a substitute of spending your accrued money you’ll be able to as a substitute discover an ATM and deposit it. That cash then turns into accessible to you exterior the match, to purchase beauty objects for instance. But it surely additionally carries over—discover an ATM in a future match and your cash will likely be there ready. Like Rogue Legacy or FTL/Into the Breach, it’s a forgiving system that makes it really feel such as you’ve made some progress even should you solely ran round for 15 minutes after which obtained shot.
Weapons really feel higher than in Fortnite, which is an admittedly low bar however nonetheless some extent in Radical Heights’s favor. It’s not fairly as hardcore as PUBG’s ballistics, however weapons no less than reliably shoot the place you’re aiming them.
It’s also possible to get round by bicycle, and pull off some candy methods whereas doing so.
Oh, and my favourite bit from Radical Heights: No parachutes. You simply dive straight down, faceplant into the bottom, after which rise up and begin grabbing money. It’s enjoyable.
Now for the dangerous.
I don’t know why Boss Key determined to launch Radical Heights this early. Possibly the crew is anxious a flood of battle royale video games will come within the subsequent few months and it’ll be unimaginable to get consideration? Possibly the Lawbreakers cash was operating out and Boss Key one thing wanted to generate a little bit of income?
It’s onerous to know for positive, however suffice it to say Radical Heights is barely even Early Entry. Certain, you’ll be able to play a full match, however the expertise is tough.
To start out, it is poorly optimized. That’s no shock. Hell, PUBG nonetheless has optimization points a 12 months after its preliminary launch. But it surely’s irritating to be again at sq. one with a battle royale recreation. Watching folks stutter to the bottom, diving after which freezing in place after which diving once more—that is early days stuff, and I doubt individuals who put up with that period for the novelty in 2017 are aching to do it with a me-too recreation in 2018.
Match pacing additionally desperately wants an overhaul. Like PUBG and Fortnite, the Radical Heights play space regularly shrinks because the match progresses. Very regularly although, within the case of Radical Heights. The primary time I made it to the highest 10 in a match, the tempo of killing outstripped how briskly Radical Heights might accommodate and shrink the map, finally main to 6 or seven minutes with virtually zero battle as all of us sat content material in our little fiefdoms and waited for the ultimate circle.
These facets aren’t surprising although. Optimization and pacing tweaks are why you do Early Entry.
What is surprising is the final lack of polish. I imply, the sport’s free, so I assume Boss Key feels prefer it’s not precisely ripping anybody off by placing it out this early.
You solely get one probability for that first impression although, and Radical Heights doesn’t make an excellent one. Placeholder UI components? Yup. Barely readable map? Yeah. Absolutely untextured buildings?
And if that weren’t dangerous sufficient, try this radioactive spillage that’s apparently alleged to be a placid lakefront:
For each setting that appears well-crafted and matches the theme, like an arcade with that ‘80s-grid carpeting, there’s one other that’s principally gray-box prototype. Given how a lot Radical Heights leans on its aesthetic, peppering the map with generic parking garages and empty condominium buildings is a serious misstep.
Is Radical Heights value a glance? Yeah, positive. It’s free, and I believe the core recreation has some potential. It takes the cartoon aesthetic of Fortnite, pairs it with higher weapons and a extra unified aesthetic, and strips out the crafting components some folks don’t like. Or should you’re coming from the opposite finish, it’s PUBG-lite, with weapons that really really feel good on mouse and keyboard however with out the navy trappings.
It’s very, very early days for Radical Heights although, and I’m surprised Boss Key put the sport out this early. You’d assume after Lawbreakers, they’d be cautious of a recreation shedding its participant base too early—however I’m anxious if Radical Heights doesn’t repair its points, and quick, we would see a repeat. Already the sport’s sitting at a “Principally Destructive” score on Steam, barely hours after launch. That’s not an excellent signal for the long run.