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Just like how big developers are going into a rut concerning what they think will sell, depending on how popular certain genres are, indie developers are starting to get into that same rut. There are big pushes for first-person narratives, 16-bit-style games, first-person horror games, games that obviously try to be like some of the bigger titles in terms of difficulty, and so on. I’m sure I have talked about this before, but it’s becoming more apparent and draining with how many developers are not trying to make a name for themselves by being unique. This is why I was very intrigued by the adventure puzzle game from the one-man team at FIRE FACE with their game, Small Radios Big Televisions. This quirky little game was published by Adult Swim Games, and I honestly haven’t seen a lot of people talk about it. It’s a good example of being “out of the box”, even among the indie developers. Let’s dive in.
The game does have a plot, but the storytelling is very minimal, with a world where people obtain special cassette tapes that they can put into their tape player and be transported to these visually pleasing worlds. You, as the player, travel among these big oil platform-like buildings, and must find these tapes to figure out what exactly happened. You travel around by going into these rooms within the oil platform buildings, solving simple puzzles that open up more doors within those buildings. Your main goal is to find those special cassette tapes, enter the weird and colorful worlds they throw you into, and find a special green gem that will open up special doors. Once you do these tasks by either going to certain rooms to use the tapes or magnetizing them, you will move onto the next building and then watch the next story narrative. You do this, and you will complete the game. There really isn’t much to do, and it won’t take you long in beating the game, since if you know what you are doing, you can beat it in two hours.
Graphically speaking, I love the colorful minimalistic graphics. Everything pops, and while it is brightly colorful, there is this mysterious atmosphere that envelopes the factory/rigs that you explore. You also get these weird unnerving vibes when you go through a trippy sequence of the tapes. In terms of visual presentation, it’s definitely a game that you won’t forget about after beating it.
So, what is wrong? Well, at its price point, I feel like the game is overpriced. It’s good, and it stands out, but it’s definitely a game I can’t recommend, unless you are into puzzle games with minimal stories, and don’t mind the $12 price tag. I think $5 would be more suitable, but that’s just me. I also don’t find myself wanting to play this game again after beating it. Since you know how the puzzles work, and you know what’s going to happen in the story, there is no fun in replaying the game.
I’m conflicted with Small Radios Big Televisions. I don’t say that a lot, since I tend to be very cut-and-dried with my opinions on games. For the most part, I enjoyed my time with this game, and how I got to play something more unique and different than what we normally get with gaming these days. On the other hand, I don’t see myself replaying it anytime soon. I guess to me, while I do recommend it at a lower price, if any of this sounds interesting and you don’t mind spending $12 on PC or PlayStation 4, then by all means go ahead, it’s your cash and time. Still, I’m glad I got to play it, and I’m happy that these types of games are around. Put in a tape and get lost within its world
This game gets a 7 out of 10