Randal’s Monday is a traditional point and click adventure game by new developers Nexus Games Studios. Add in a ton of pop culture references and a few cult Clerks characters and you have a classic right?
The game starts, as all good stories should, in a bar after a few drinks. You play as Randal, voiced by Jeff Anderson (Randal in Clerks) who later finds himself in a Groundhog Day style situation after stealing a ring from his best friend Matt. Randal soon realises that the day and events will keep repeating until he returns the ring to Matt. And that is where the adventure begins.
Point and click games have little changed over the years. The process may be faster today, using the mouse cursor instead of text-based icons, but the habit of trying every object with anything clickable still holds true. Randal’s Monday gives the option of a classic two button click and modern single click interface, argue among yourselves over which is the best! They both work just fine and it is down to personal preference in my opinion. The user interface is easy to use and intuitive and you should have no problems at all.
The games main influence is Groundhog Day, in that you repeat each day until you fix the problems. Along the way are countless references from just about everything you can think of, from Shawshank Redemption to Sanford and Son. Visually there are just as many references, throughout the game are statues, props and posters of games like Q*bert and Halo, and films such as Alien and Shaun of the Dead. It is a bit overwhelming at the start of the game but by mid-point it is less in your face, at least visually.
The characters and their voices are on the whole done very well. Randal is spot on and is entertaining throughout the game. Later in the game you get a cameo appearance from Jay (voiced by Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob. They are instantly recognisable and a nice touch. The many other characters in the game also hold their own and it looks like a lot of attention has been paid to their stories. Each character has a lot to say, and sometimes the conversations can drag on a little too much.
I mentioned the process of using every object with each other as this is the core gameplay in most point and click games. Finding the right balance between obvious and the ‘how in the hell am I supposed to work that out’ puzzle difficulty is very important. It is here where Randal’s Monday gets it wrong. A lot of the puzzles are simply too illogical to work out. One example involving breaking out of a room by smashing a window. The simple option would have been use the hammer in your inventory on the window, but instead it involves using a variety of items in a certain order to cause a reaction, with the result of collecting a piece of ice to cut the glass. This is one of the less obscure puzzles, some of them take you so far away from the beaten track I was not sure where one puzzle started and ended at some points.
A built-in guide is available at any time from the inventory. It requires you to kill a kitty to show the next step you must do. It does reveal the full answer, not a vague tip, and at first I thought maybe this was too much to give away. But after the unfathomable puzzles, more obscurity would have been the final straw.
Ranald’s Monday does a great job of storytelling, but it fails on making a lot of the puzzles too hard to complete without the aid of the guide. There is a lot of humour and pop culture references but I feel that the constant referring to the guide, which you absolutely will be viewing a lot, breaks the immersion with the game. I recommend the game if you are a fan of point and click games or a sucker for punishment, otherwise give it a miss until the Steam sales.
You can buy Randal’s Monday via Steam here.
An entertaining story, but it is vastly let down by illogical puzzle solving which frustrates.
Great artwork throughout the game with many visual pop culture references.
All characters are wonderfully voiced. Music is on the whole very good.