Reliving a nightmare.
During the Wii’s incredible rise in popularity, several companies started selling very similar looking “motion gaming systems”. Often found in drugstores, they looked just enough like Nintendo’s console to fool some parents and grandparents into thinking they were buying something they weren’t. Randal’s Monday is one of those systems. It’s packaged and positioned in a way that suggests it has something to do with the Clerks movies by Kevin Smith, when in reality it’s a poor knock-off in every way.
Randal’s Monday features Jeff Anderson as the voice of main character Randal Hicks. If you’re a Clerks fan that sentence probably confuses you – Jeff Anderson played a character named Randal in those movies, but the last name has been swapped with another character from the series. That’s a theme that runs throughout Randal’s Monday; unfortunately more time was spent walking the line of copyright infringement than making a good game.
Controller Support: Partial
The game is a classic point and click style. Randal is caught in a time loop and is living the same day over and over again. The player explores the environment, finding items that can be used to solve puzzles, which advance the plot and move Randal closer to righting his wrongs and breaking the cycle. The items and puzzles are a mixed bag, and alternate between logical solutions and situations that devolve into “try using everything on everything else”.
Like many other games of this style, a large part of Randal’s Monday is choosing dialog options. Unfortunately, dialog consumes the majority of the game. It’s a regular occurrence to get locked into long, inescapable conversations where the dialog “option” was the order I wanted to say things in; I was going to have to click all of them in order to proceed. I spent more time trying to figure out how to get out of conversations than I did solving puzzles.
The nature of the choices don’t help the situation any. Dialog options generally include the joke, so the humor is old by the time Randal delivers it. It doesn’t help matters that the writing is flat and uninspired. The game prides itself on delivering loads of pop culture references, but they’re rarely clever in any way. Simply having characters recite lines from or refer to movies or TV isn’t inherently amusing, but it’s the game’s go-to move.
As if that’s not enough, the recognizable voices (Anderson as Randal and Jason Mewes as Jay Dealer) sound like those actors attempting to do impressions of their own characters. Both Randal and Jay sound off, and either the voices needed to be tweaked to stay out of legal trouble or the production simply suffered from terrible voice direction. The game tries to sell recognizable characters, but they wind up being more distraction than anything else.
The one aspect that hits solidly is the visuals. The game has a nice, cartoony art style, and it comes together nicely. Backgrounds are filled with the same pop culture references as the dialog, but here they mesh nicely, and I found myself spending extra time in areas to check everything out.
Randal’s Monday is a mostly functional point and click adventure that buries itself under a mountain of flat, meaningless dialog. It doesn’t help matters that the game is structured to imply a higher caliber of writing. Removing the main character it would be a bland, forgettable experience. As it is it’s only memorable for how poor of an attempt it is to cash in on a franchise. Fans of Kevin Smith’s work will be just as disappointed as adventure game fans, and players in general will do well to avoid this one.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.