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Radiant Android Review

26/12/2011 Thinking Odyssey Gamer Review
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Radiant Android




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This week I left the Magical Isle of Fiction behind to explore the skies beyond the far, far away Land of Gaming... only to find myself in a Time Warp called Radiant, with little or no hope of a real, proper Odyssey.

@libby_ol: Radiant and re-living the Space Invaders dream. Actually, just in a stupor, looking at the pretty colours on my Android.

Odyssey? What Odyssey?

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. I mean, an Odyssey is really just a good story, right? It's the opportunity to spin a yarn: to share the 'how I made it home' tale.

When you play Radiant, you are Max Blaster, humankind's "only hope"; you are a pilot who "flies" a monster-pixellated rocket left to right on a horizontal plane... just like an Olde Arcade Game. True to form, you get to mindlessly blast yellow bullets at glowing and lurid aliens who vary in size and lethalness.

I do like a good blaster game, no question. And I like it even more when I get to buy extra ammunition, extra weaponry -- and especially extra lives. (I'm not known for staying alive, as you may know.) What I'm not so keen on is not being able to control the shooting, because I do like to have access to more than one bullet per second. Call me crazy.

Nevertheless, I do remember feeling restricted by the arcade games of yore in this and other ways. I wanted a Vulcan Cannon and a Bio Blaster (or something akin to), but they hadn't been invented yet. I liked the idea of having more colours on my screen, like lurid pink, for example. In these small ways, Radiant delivers -- and how.

But I'm not complaining. The real Odyssey is the opportunity to mind-meld with others who share the space invaders dream. Not only in the fact that you can share your scores with the rest of the world if you so desire, but because it's a chance to re-live those First Encounters: those times you day-dreamed about black skies with single-pixel (or four-pixel if you were lucky) stars, and the excitement of the computer game. What it could be. What worlds it might unlock. (If you could just get your brother off the console.)

The real Odyssey is the opportunity to mind-meld with others who shared in the space invaders dream.

Radiant is a bit of a no-brainer. It is what it is, and for the older (er, mature) player, you will know what you're in for. Max Blaster's humour is brittle and reflexive. But the story's so loose -- there are goodies and there are baddies -- that you could hardly call it a story arc, let alone an Odyssey.

For the younger player, I suspect there is novelty in the retro-effects (not to mention the brain-numbing, 1980s ambient synthonica), but even for them it's an Odyssey in the telling, not in the gaming experience. In our house, @Mr9 loses interest pretty fast.

Still, once in a while it's pleasant to take some time out, stare at the pretty colours... and be grateful nothing lasts forever.

Written by Libby O'Loghlin

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Libby O'Loghlin writes the Odyssey Gamer column.

"I bring my writing goggles to the gaming experience, because I see gaming as part of the Odyssey. I want to understand its attraction, and whether it bubbled up from the guts of our basic need for story-telling. I want to understand it as a narrative medium, and how it feeds into our daily lives."

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