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Radiation City review for Nintendo Switch


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Atypical Games
Developer: Atypical Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

For me, the first sign that something was very wrong with Radiation City came early on, in my first encounter with the zombies that sporadically populate the game. I was walking down a road, when all of a sudden a translucent figure started running at me at warp speed. I killed it, but I was soon after felled by a second near-invisible zombie, which had suddenly sprung into existence right next to me.

Now, if these glass zombies had been intentional, that might have been an interesting design choice. Invisible zombies aren’t a pop culture staple, after all. But, as I soon discovered, this was more an example of the game being seriously broken than of Radiation City trying something new with zombies.

Unfortunately, glitches are the rule in this game, rather than the exception. I came across zombies trapped in walls, inside cars, and in trees. I was once able to calmly dispatch a zombie that was trapped in mid-air, unable to do anything other than run and growl in place, ten feet off the ground. And it wasn’t just zombies that glitched or popped in and out of existence, either: trees, buildings, vehicles, all of them only seem to exist at certain times, depending on where you’re standing. I understand that there are always some hiccups when you’re talking about any open-world game, but the sheer number of technical issues in this game goes far beyond what could be considered reasonable.

Even if there weren’t so many problems with Radiation City, I still have my doubts as to whether it would be salvageable. It feels fundamentally unfair, for one thing: you amble along most of the time, walking like you’re trapped in molasses. Meanwhile, zombies can spawn anywhere, at any time, and move so quickly you’ll usually be at least half-dead before you’ve had a chance to react.

On top of walking slowly, your height seems to change depending on your surroundings. At one point I was decided to take a shortcut through a field of grass, only to find that the knee-high grass on the side of the road was suddenly up to my shoulders if I moved off the road — and, on top of that, when I was attacked by wolves without warning, they were almost at eye level.

Also, driving controls are terrible here. Rather than sticking with what works and allowing you to accelerate/slow down with your shoulder buttons and steer with the thumbsticks, driving here is with the thumbsticks, and it’s incredibly unresponsive.

Basically, there’s absolutely no reason why you should check out Radiation City. It’s a broken, buggy mess that doesn’t do anything right, and it’s a massive waste of your time, money, and memory card space.

Atypical Games provided us with a Radiation City Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D-