Adult Swim Games and developer FIRE FACE have a new game available now for those who like something a bit different and experimental. The name of the game, Small Radios Big Televisions, doesn’t even really tell you what this game is about. What it is about is exploring different environments and solving puzzles while trying to figure out just what is going on in this world.
The game is more of an adventure/point-and-click style of game where you will explore these different factories/buildings while solving puzzles that won’t require you to use your brain too much. When you start the game you are looking at this factory. Clicking on one of the doors takes you inside and that is how you navigate the whole game. You move from room to room, door to door, in this same loop through the whole game. Eventually you’ll go through a door that will take you back to the outside of the factory on a different side of it. All of the factories have doors all around them but you can only move to that side of the factory after exiting that door from the inside. Some doors won’t open until you find a green gem to insert in the switch to power the door. These green gems are found in cassette tapes that you can find inside these factories.
When you find one of these cassette tapes it is inserted into the player and it transports you to a psychedelic new world such as a field or a beach or highway. There is nothing to do in these other worlds except look for the green gem that you need somewhere on the screen. When you collect it you are transported back to the factory and continue as you were. You also soon find that you will have to alter the cassette tapes by putting them on magnets somewhere in the world so that the scenes are distorted. This allows you to find more green gems that you couldn’t find in the regular scene. Other puzzles in these factories that you’ll have to solve include taking gears and putting them in new spots to provide power or using light to make vines disappear from doors. It’s all pretty easy stuff so this is one adventure game that you should never get stuck scratching your head.
When you finish one factory you are treated to a short cutscene that provides text dialog of two people talking. This is pretty much the only story you get in the game and even after finishing it I’m still not sure what was going on. It seems like people got corrupted or something by these tapes. The game could just have really used some better story telling or something but this is another one of those experimental indie games that is trying to do new things and this one just doesn’t do it well. Another complaint I have with the game is how the world moves with you when you are moving your cursor. I got used to it after awhile but it made clicking on some things more frustrating than they should be. Too often I ended up clicking on a door instead of the switch right next to it that I was trying to hit causing me to exit that room and have to go back in. Also it is easy to get lost in the game and the in game map doesn’t help at all. The map is something I brought up one time by accident by hitting the button and realized just how useless it is. It’s one of the worst maps in a game for sure. It’s hard to figure out how to get back to that switch you needed to power after you finally get the gem you need and you end up having to just click through doors until you stumble upon that room.
The art style of the game is clean and sharp and the soundtrack is actually quite soothing and mesmerizing. It’s one of the stronger elements of the game for sure and I recommend playing with headphones if you can to get the most out of it. Some of those cassette tape locations such as a river can be great to just sit there and take in the soothing sounds. If you are a trophy person the game only has nine of them and they are obtained by completing the game and finding all of the tapes.
Small Radios Big Televisions is a different kind of experience for sure and it isn’t for everyone. If you like adventure games with challenge this isn’t for you and if you like games with clear stories this isn’t for you either. If you want a point-and-click adventure game that is easy to get through with a wonderful, soothing soundtrack than you should give Small Radios Big Televisions a shot.
*Review copy provided by the publisher