It’s Monday, again…
Mondays suck. There is nothing worse than waking up on a Monday morning to realise that all of the exciting possibilities of the weekend are over and another five days of tedium lay ahead before another chance of freedom and fun will present itself. Okay, maybe that is just me, but I am pretty sure that Mondays are universally disliked.
And this is why you really have to feel for the protagonist in Daedalic Entertainment and Nexus Game Studios’ latest point and click adventure, Randal’s Monday. Not that feeling for Randal is an easy task, he is pretty unlikable and seems to have a snarky comment for every situation. But imagine having to relive Monday over and over again in some kind of Groundhog Day hell. That’s harsh.
The game opens with a Sunday night bender down the pub for Randal and his two best friends, who just happen to be getting married. Matt shares with Randal the fact that he has acquired the most wonderful, awesome wedding ring ever from a vagrant in the street, in exchange for a crisp or something. Of course, the bum declared that the ring was cursed, but when has that ever stood in the way of a good plot?
With the excessive drinking continuing into the night, and a bout of volcanic vomiting on Matt’s part, Randal comes across Matt’s wallet and the ring. Of course, any decent friend would return it immediately. But, between the drink and Randal’s own kleptomaniac ways, Randal keeps hold of that precious ring and the night comes to a close.
So, the Monday morning begins, and it begins badly. Nursing a hangover and a lack of sleep due to a voice declaring that he is cursed keeping him up all night, Randal is accosted by his landlord demanding three months rent, something his growling room mate will not help out with. Work is not going well. Oh, and Matt commits suicide as a result of the missing ring. As Mondays go, it is pretty bad.
After going to sleep at the end of this seriously unpleasant Monday, Randal awakens to find that he has to relive Monday again, thanks to the cursed ring. However, along with being an interesting plot for a point and click adventure game, it also gives Randal the opportunity to change the day for a more positive outcome. Cue lots of puzzles and situations of a point and click nature that get totally twisted by time manipulation. The interesting thing is that Randal is able to manipulate things on one day, for desired effects the following day, giving way to a solution for this repeating Monday.
The game plays in a classic point and click manner, with the player able to move the hero around the screen and click to interact, look at or pick up items. Randal is not the quickest mover in the adventure game scene, so don’t expect to rush through the game. There are plenty of puzzles in the game, and they are for the most part well designed, with more than a couple being positively fiendish. Otherwise, it is all about talking to everyone, examining everything and picking up whatever isn’t nailed down. Sure, there are plenty of obscure and illogical solutions to puzzles that may irk some players, but in many ways these keep to the classical point and click formula that would have you collecting and combining seemingly random objects to solve something that should logically be much easier.
The real star of the game is the writing though. Featuring the voice of Jeff Anderson from the Kevin Smith movie “Clerks”, it may come as no surprise to hear that the writing has a similar snidey and sarcastic tone to it. It is also packed to the gills with geek culture references, from The Twilight Zone at the very beginning, through reference to The Simpsons, X-Files, Portal and many, many more. It won’t be long before the player is positively drowning in these references, but that is no hardship.
The visual style of Randal’s Monday is heavily styled like a cartoon, and is very well polished. The game looks good, there is no denying that, and there is always plenty to look at, including yet more references. Another highlight is the voice work, including that of Clerks star Jeff Anderson and even his co-star Jason Mewes. It is all pretty impressive.
Randal’s Monday is pretty good so far as point and click adventures go. It doesn’t manage to offer anything new to the genre, but some excellent writing, plenty of humour and quality audio and visual work ensures that the game is enjoyable to play. The constant references may get in the way slightly, but point and click fans will find the entire situation and the often obscure solutions to puzzles entertaining and fun.