Thank you so much to Atypical Games for providing a review code.
Radiation City begins with you piloting an uncharted plane as you fly over a strange island, looking for a party of journalists that have went missing after visiting the area.
This is no normal landscape however; This is Chernobyl where the radiation is ingrained into the areas very soil and the surrounding environment where humans that have been left within its walls have went through some drastic changes.
Your main goal was to research the area and find the whereabouts of your significant other; However without warning your plane malfunctions and crashes into the ground.. You barely survive the crash. Crawling out of the wreckage you wander into a new nightmare!
Art of survival!
Radiation city is all about survival, as you wander through field, forests, villages and desolate cities you come to realization that you’re not alone and some of the lost journalists have suffered fate’s worse than death.
Upon crawling from the wreckage of your plane you’re given a brief overview of how Radiation City plays. Your essentially given a breakdown of the, basic controls and how to survive by eating and drinking. These two necessities are vital to your survival. Finding food in abandoned houses, small camp sites or stumbling upon wells for fresh water is vital to survive this world.
The camp sites act like re-spawn points and are areas of interest that drive the story forward with tablets that can be discovered. Also, consumables can be found here and taken as well. There’s even a helpful item box to store goods to free up inventory space which is limited when you begin the game.
Of course like any good survival game you will be doing a lot more than just eating and drinking, but also finding sources of food that you can’t consume straight away. For example you may find raw meat from a fallen enemy wolf or within a house. but you’ll be unable to eat it straight away. Instead, you’ll need to cook the meat to make it to consumable. So finding a stove or heat source will make these items consumable. Same goes with canned food which requires a can opener. It’s all about searching for one thing that can be used to make something else usable. Some food items can be eaten straight away such as apples.
Finding water wells located near houses becomes very useful, as finding plastic bottles or containers can hold water for use later on when you’re thirsty.
Of course no survival game is complete without some sort of crafting component. Once certain ingredients are gathered certain items such as clothing and tools can be assembled. However, each item has limited use and once that is reached the item will break meaning you’ll either have to find it again or craft a new one. This can cause you to have to do a lot of back tracking around the game’s massive map. Thankfully camps you’ve discovered can act like re-spawn points that you can instantly travel to.
Also in radiation city you can drive vehicles around the map which is very useful. Some may need to be repaired with items, but once they’re good to go you can travel around without too much worry. Remember each vehicle runs on gas and once its gone you’ll have to abandon the vehicle. Thankfully there’s always another one around the corner or hidden in a barn or garage so keep your eyes peeled!
The controls in Radiation City are as follows. You can move around with the left analog stick while on foot, but when your in a vehicle this helps you accelerate and reverse. There are no button inputs required while driving and you can also move the camera around with the right analog stick. Leaving the vehicle can be done at any time with the A button. In fact most interactions can be done with the A button.
You can also aim down the sights with the ZL trigger and fire or attack with melee weapons using the ZR trigger. You can select items on hotkey select at the bottom on the screen with the direction pad for quick access of items on the fly and access the map with the + button.
You can open up your inventory by pressing down on direction pad to open the craft screen. Most of this information and more is located in the pause menu. Other important information such as upgrades, story and other options are located here to.
One thing that’s quite cool here is by completing objectives and other tasks like crafting, you’ll level up and earn skill points. These skill points can be used to improve your character in multiple different parameters. The parameters include stats such as – vitality, speed, stamina, radiation resistance, strength, fire arms, stealth, thirst and hunger. Adding points to these bars will help prepare you for survival.
The more the bar is filled the better you are at certain abilities like not being so hunger or being able to sneak pass enemies easier. Obviously, the best bars to fill are the hunger meter and thirst meter as not worrying about being hungry or thirsty all the time is a lot better in my opinion. Especially in areas that food and water are scarce.
You’re not alone in Radiation City as wild life runs freely, but also hidden horrors await within buildings and fields waiting for you to pass by. In this situation you normally hear noises or growls followed by an attack on your character.
I lost count on the amount of times I saw nothing as I walked slowly through the undergrowth or city streets only to be ambushed by lone wolf or horde of radiated zombies.
It can become quite scary as there’s definitely an eerie atmosphere here of complete isolation and hearing noises that sounded just behind that wall had my heart rate pounding.
However, it wasn’t just the horrors waiting for me behind every door or grassy meadow. The actual fighting wasn’t all that great, with poor hit detection which sometimes saw me hitting a target and other times my weapon simple pass through them. It became annoying to the point were I tried to avoid combat all together as most fights ended up with me being badly wounded and dying before I could heal.
It’s a real shame that the combat mechanics weren’t refined a bit better here, as the surrounding environments are pretty cool to explore. I have not even touched upon the areas that require a radiation suit. After the crash at the beginning of the game you’re alerted to your Geiger Counter that detects any sort of radiation within certain areas.When the levels start spiking you know you need your suit on.
Some areas have very high readings for radiation that may need suits to be able to travel to. You can consume some ill effects if you take too much of this hazardous radiation.
I was really impressed with the map in Radiation City. The map is huge with farms, industrial structures, vast cities and small villages to explore.
It’s really cool to take in the sights, it’s just a shame the performance finds it difficult to keep the frame rate stable. Certain actions like interacting with cars, items and other interactive elements sometimes wouldn’t work properly. Some items would sink into the floor constantly and I had a few instances where I needed said item and I would find it below the ground and couldn’t pick it up.
Audio, Visuals, Performance
Music takes a back seat in Radiation City, with a lot of nature sounds effects being used instead. I actually prefer sound effects like those in my survival games so this wasn’t a huge issue for me.
Visual had moments where I stopped and thought this looks pretty cool, only for the performance to take hit and ruin certain actions. Actions like seeing enemies become stuck on environmental objects, jerky animations and one weird bug where all the furniture in every house, I explored would leap up into the air and float in front of me.
Its really shame as I can see a lot potential here, but Radiation City hasn’t been ported very well to the Switch. It makes me quite sad as I actually like the game even though it has some technical issues.
I enjoyed radiation city as I feel certain areas like the cities can become quite eerie. There’s definitely a challenge to be had here and enough content that can last anywhere from up to 15-20 hours, which is great.
Unfortunately, Radiation City hasn’t been ported very well to Switch and has a lot of issues and technical problems. Luckily, I have not experienced any crashes as of yet just glitches and funny bugs.
There’s game underneath these issues that I think a lot people would enjoy playing. Having the ability to explore the abandoned cities of Chernobyl and surrounding areas of Pripyat are so cool.
I feel the price point is a little high and in my personal opinion, I feel that a better price point would of been £10.99. If you can find this game on a big sale I’d say give it a go. It’s entertaining just to be able to get to explore area that many people in the real world are still unable to visit. Radiation city makes this environment a place that you’ll want to explore even though the issues do ruin what could been a great entry point into the survival genre.