It’s always nice to see a classic video game format developed with a modern touch. Point and click adventure games had their true golden age in the 90’s with LucasArts at the head of the table. Games like Grim Fandango, Monkey Island, and Full Throttle really had a knack for making a player examine their surroundings and consider the options available. Randal’s Monday is no different. Although there have been a few new notable entries to the genre such as Sam and Max or The Walking Dead, I felt like Nexus Games went back and dusted off the original drawing board this time around.
Humour and logic mix spectacularly as you control Randal Hicks, the absolutely terrible excuse for a human being that many of you know from the Clerks movies. He’s stuck in a loop akin to Groundhog Day, and only you can help him escape. Of course, Randal just wouldn’t be Randal without a complete lack of respect for everyone around him. The writers have captured his personality to a tee here. This coupled with the great voice work of Jeff Anderson really makes this Randal’s own adventure. It still has a ton of laughs in store for fans of Clerks, or anyone who has a penchant for geek culture.
The gameplay itself is pretty standard, with most objects in the world intractable via left and right click. A cool feature they’ve given is the option to play old school or new school, using two clicks or one click. I spent a lot of my time just listening to the flavour chatter, checking out my inventory and seeing what I could mix together whenever I got stuck. Often times things just seemed so logical once I had figured it out, but had me throwing everything in my inventory against each other in hopes of discovering the next step. The puzzles fit the theme quite well actually, and gave me a pretty good sense of satisfaction when I could figure them out quickly or on my first try.
One thing that did irk me a bit was the lack of an auto-save. I only made the same mistake twice, but there isn’t a point in not having the game at least auto-save between days. There is still a manual save option which is always a good thing to give players, but why not throw in what has become the standard of today? Points of no return could have easily worked as a time to save progress. This is definitely a personal problem for the most part and shame on me for forgetting to save, but it’s a pretty reliable function these days.
The art style was a good choice and I’m glad they went with it. The cartoony look allowed them to bring a lot of the world and characters to life, which can be a big problem in this genre. A bit more ambiance when outside would be nice, the streets tend to be a tad barren in comparison to inside buildings. This is a bit unfortunate because you can end up spending a lot of time moving between zones if you forgot an item or can’t figure out where to go. There are usually a couple people out on the street doing a few animations which helps, but a bit more would have really sold me a lot more. Another minor flaw I noticed was that some of the doors kind of seem like the knob is in the center or too close to it. It’s not a big deal but it stuck out to me at times and took me out of the immersion. Despite this, the rest of the environments are terrific and a lot of fun to interact with. Randal always finds a way to get up to no good in his ultimate quest for the mysterious ring.
So while Randal’s Monday does sort of borrow an idea from Groundhog Day, it does things with a big twist. I won’t go into too much detail, but consider the fact that every day you wake up, you still have the items you had before… This adds a new layer to the previous concept and the developers have had a lot of fun with it. Who cares if someone gets mad at you if you have to steal something as long as you don’t get killed? You’ll just wake up with it tomorrow anyway, and they’ll be none the wiser! Well, let it be also known that whatever you do the day before is going to butterfly effect into the present. This makes for a lot of creative material and content, and really does help answer another important question: is the price tag too high?
Some people may be put off by the price of the game ($27.99 in Canada) but overall I think it’s fair. Randal’s Monday features a ton of content and a decent amount of play time. Not to mention it’s unique and fun. When you factor in other games like The Walking Dead cost the same price and do not have nearly the same amount of puzzles or items, Randal’s Monday is good bang for the buck. Point and click adventure games are not for everyone and Randal’s Monday is not without some flaws but there is no denying this game has plenty of redeeming qualities.