What drives a DeLorean at 88MPH, knows the lightsaber combat forms, AND can name all of the background characters in every major DC Comics franchise? If you guessed Kevin Smith, you’re *almost* spot on, but not quite. It’s actually Randal’s Monday, a point-and-click adventure game from Nexus Game Studios and it feels ripped straight from a Kevin Smith movie.Literally. It even has Jason Mewes and Jeff Anderson reprising their roles as Jay and Randal (though as Randal Hicks, not the original Randal Graves). The game’s quirkiness and odd approach to everything make it stand out, even the midst of infuriatingly hard puzzles.
The game’s premise is somewhat simple. Randal ends up picking up a mystical, cursed ring. At first things just stack up, but it’s when the game goes Groundhog Day on him and he starts wondering if he should call Bill Murray for help that things turn bizarre. Stuck in this bizarre time loop, you must navigate Randal through the day-after-day occurrences that seem to just build and continue. Some major things, like breaking a fire escape, rewrites history permanently making your choices all the more important as your progress through Monday (repeatedly).
Being my first point-and-click adventure game, I only had the barest of ideas of what to expect. Since the genre revolves around puzzles and an engrossing story, I was thankful Randal’s Monday delivered on both aspects. Following the foul-mouthed and apathetic Randal around as he belittles his neighbors and friends is easy and simple enough to do with the system’s easy controls. Everything is mouse-based and the two different control schemes allow some flexibility in how players can approach the game. Personally, I took the old-school method that allowed me the option of using both mouse buttons, but the other was contextual based and allows players to quickly pick the desired action. There’s also the option to hook up a controller, though I did not attempt during my playthrough.
The puzzles though, man, the puzzles! Going back to Randal’s Monday being my first point-and-click adventure game, I only knew to expect puzzles and combining items to complete puzzles. I did not, however, expect the level of complexity some of these puzzles required. Thankfully, that’s where the game’s built-in hint system comes into play. While it does throw the warning that you “must kill kitty” in order to receive a hint, it’s a surefire way to help through some of the trickier ones throughout the game. While I did not enjoy hearing the loud “rawr” as I killed the kitties to help myself progress, there were times where I had no other options. There’s little in the way of guidance throughout the game occasionally and aside from a literal shot in the dark attempt at completing some puzzles, I relied heavily on the hint system when needed.
The game’s quirky humor really struck a fun chord for me. It reminded me directly of the Clerks franchise with its witty and conversational approach to some of the goofiest topics possible. Randal’s Monday felt much the same and hearing Jeff Anderson talk about inane things once again was a treat. This is the game’s golden quality and the pop culture references both within conversation and hidden in the environment are fantastic. I’d say try and spot some of them, but it felt like there were 15 crammed into each sentence and location within the game that they’re too hard to miss, actually.
Randal’s Monday is a great gem of a game. While the puzzles can be extremely challenging and misleading (who thought drinking rat poison was a good idea?), they’re fun to try and mess around with. Thankfully Randal will point out directly how dumb some requests are, keeping you from feeling too confident in yourself about your puzzle solving skills. Combining that with the pop culture and humor and it’s a great adventure game.Note: Randal’s Monday was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.