There’s a famous saying that good artists copy and great artists steal. To a large extent, that saying is very true in the games industry with the trends that come and go and the mechanics that are shared across the board. But what happens when, rather than steal one great idea, you copy several good ideas?
Radiation Island Review [Nintendo Switch]
Well, Radiation Island is a result of the former where it picks the pocket of many other existing games and puts them all together. But it almost feels like it’s trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that just don’t quite fit.
Originally launching on the mobile platform, Radiation Island graduates onto Switch and brings itself into the limelight, joining many new games on the eShop. This naturally means it has been adapted for button and stick controls rather than that of touch controls. The screen still serves a purpose, in some respects, but not to the same level of its mobile predecessor.
What is Radiation Island though? Well, it’s hard to say because I don’t think it knows itself. You find yourself washed up on a mysterious island, that has been exposed to some form of radiation, and it’s up to you to discover how and why. After a brief tutorial, you’re set on your way to roam the island and do your thing. But, before you proceed, you choose what mode you wish to play in; which is where some of the confusion begins, I feel. You can just go explore, play the game the way it’s intended, or, play a hardcore mode which is more difficult.
It combines elements of survival, crafting, exploration, hunting, shooting and melee combat. So it’s a bit like Fallout met Far Cry, saw Minecraft on the way and then DayZ tagged along for good measure. In theory that would make for a great result but it doesn’t quite make the grade. Of course, you can forgive some of its shortcomings due to its origins (graphics and general performance bugs) but you’d like to think that they’d be fixed for the launch on Switch.
The all too distant military and conspiracy storyline shows early promise too but doesn’t keep you hooked to necessarily want to find out what went wrong. Radiation Island’s world is a good size and has its secrets to share, including dangerous and deadly zombies, but I’d be surprised if most had the fortitude to play for any great length of time. Which is a shame really as, given its sources of inspiration, Radiation Island could be really something quite good.
Radiation Island plays well enough and looks decent for a mobile port, but it’s not enough to stand up and match the quality of some of the other games available on the eShop right now. It’s a shame really because it’s good to see smaller, niche games come to the platform, but they need to pack a punch to really make the grade these days.