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Small Radios Big Televisions – Quick Game Review

Small Radios Big Televisions – Quick Game Review
Small Radios Big Televisions (PC [Reviewed], PS4)
Developer: Fire Face Corporation
Publisher: Adult Swim Games

Small Radios Big Televisions is a very short puzzle adventure game where you find cassette tapes containing worlds to explore.

I wanted to play this game in hopes of enjoying some good puzzles and exploration. You need to find cassette tapes, and each of these tapes has a different world on it. You also distort the tapes to affect the areas on them in order to find the items you need to progress. The gameplay is mostly solving puzzles to progress, with only a small amount of exploration.

I feel a bit misled by the game description and I had expected more in the way of exploration. When I heard the description say “boundless virtual worlds” I wanted more than just being stuck moving on rails, and panning the camera around to click on the same item every single time. I think they could have made the worlds better if they had some puzzles inside the tapes, had some sort of collectibles that give more insight into the story, or just made them larger areas to explore.

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Pros:
  • finding cassette tapes to visit worlds that you’ll need to solve puzzles is an interesting concept
  • the regular puzzle levels look good, and the environments inside the tapes often looked quite bizarre, but others looked decent with their minimalist art style (however, the intentional static and distortion effects may be a nuisance to some)
  • puzzles throughout the game are very straightforward, and not very challenging (this may be a con for some)
  • game the controls are fine and easy to use with almost all the interaction being done with the mouse
  • the small amount of story is fine (there are a few dialog bits during cutscenes, and thankfully the voice in the trailer is not in the game)
  • most of the sound effects were good; the music is fine, but it doesn’t really stand out as being good or bad
Cons:
  • you can’t walk around in these worlds, and the only item you ever find is the same, so if you want good or immersive exploration, you won’t be satisfied here – there are 3 versions of 18 different worlds, but most of them are pretty small areas (the game’s trailer shows some larger looking areas like the coast that I was eager to explore, only to realize you can’t even move around and actually explore the way you would want to)
  • you don’t get full control of the camera, and it takes away from any potential immersion that the world may have had
  • lack of camera control is incredibly frustrating; when you try to pan the camera around, the game would often seize control of it causing the view to snap back to the direction the game wants you to look (I almost refunded this game because of it)
  • short for the price (the game took me about 1.5-2 hours to complete the first time, but you can easily finish the game in half of that if you rush through it and know exactly what to do)
  • puzzles throughout the game are very straightforward, and not very challenging (this may be a pro for some)
  • (nitpick) mouse cursor is not locked to the game screen, and people with multiple monitors will find it annoying to accidentally tab out of the game as they try to control the camera
  • (nitpick) the audio during the cutscenes is a little irritating since the communications are made to sound broken up and full of static

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Conclusion:

I like the ideas behind the game, but I am not at all impressed by the execution of it. The puzzles were the highlight of the game, and I still liked them, even though they weren’t that challenging. However, the frustrating camera angles, the lack of character movement while ‘exploring’ the areas, short playtime, unsatisfying exploration took its toll. Small Radios Big Televisions just fell short for me. It just feels like wasted potential, and I think they could have done a lot more with it.

Rating:

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