Radiation City Review

Plane crash? Check. Stranded on your own in a strange place? Check. Looting? Check. Zombies? Check. First and third person switchable? Check. Pretty cool game? That’s up to you. ;)

 

First, Radiation Island for iOS was a bit of a breath of fresh air at the time it was released. Atypical Games got a lot right even though there were definite imperfections. Radiation City is a very worthy upgrade from Radiation Island in many respects and creates an environment that is not only beautifully deadly, if you can max out the graphical quality, but is also large and overwhelming in a good way at times.

 

If you’re an obsessive-compulsive completionist at heart, you may struggle to get through every room of every building and farmhouse in the game. There are so many places to find loot and items that I found myself playing for hours on end to see what was available and what I could use to my advantage in this ravaged city.

 

What happened and where was I going? What will I find as I travel throughout the city? Are there any other people within these walls alive? It was time to find out.

Graphics/Animation

The visual design and style of Radiation City is ambitious to a fault in some ways. It’s a bit hard to explain without actually seeing the game in action, but the day/night scenario along with the changing weather conditions are a great addition and help in creating that horror ambiance. The enemies are sickly looking and are very detailed when you encounter them up close.

 

The textures throughout are a bit of a mixed bag. Up close, the characters look pretty fantastic, but some of the building or farm textures can be a fair bit lower resolution, but it’s not a hinderance on the gameplay to be honest and does not take away from the overall experience. There is a lot of texture pop-in at times, but again, not a huge deal in the grand scheme of Radiation City. The character animations along with some of the effects are a little more sketchy and can break the immersion at times. On the Apple TV 4th Gen, slowdown and lag can be seen when things get complicated on screen unless you have the visual quality down a bit on some devices. The Apple TV 4K does not suffer this same fate. Turn the graphical settings all the way up and watch in horrific beauty. What works smoothly in some spots will not in others unless you are playing on the newest Apple TV 4K.

Sound

The music and ambient sounds fit this game quite well and add more to the stress and tension you will eventually feel especially when playing in the dark (this is the best way to play this game in my honest opinion).

 

While some of the enemy voiceovers and sounds are quite scary and get the job done, some don’t seem to fit the characters themselves for some reason. There have been times in which I was passing a “zombie” and the sound that emanated from it sounded like a bad microphone might have been used, while others seem scare the crap out of me at times. Again, this doesn’t seem to hurt the actual gameplay and is enough to make the game interesting. There just aren’t many character sounds when it comes down to it and hearing the same sounds over and over can be a bit tedious. This will be noticeable after a few minutes of playing and whether or not it bothers you may differ.

 

Vehicle sounds are weak overall and could use a little love in the next update. It’s hard to hear the vehicle engines and it would be nice to jack the sound up a bit more or even incorporate some new ones. This is very small and I am nitpicking.

 

All in all, the audio style captures what the gameplay is portraying to the player in a way that makes sense throughout the course of the game.

Gameplay / Controls

The gameplay is where Radiation City seems to undulate a bit more wildly. I have experienced quite a few crashes in the Apple TV version of the game and it is always obvious when it is about to happen as the stuttering becomes more and more apparent. It is less apparent on the Apple TV 4K though and can happen abruptly. I have had this happen on my iPad also a few times.

 

There are some definite issues with stuttering and lag also at times, though the power of the Apple TV 4K seems to alleviate most of these issues. Also, there are quite a few glitches that can be frustrating and a bit funny to see at the same time.

 

For the most part, the control is well implemented with sensitivity settings available to fine tune your gameplay. The controls work well though the weapon-play is definitely not as well implemented. Weapons can sound pretty weak/wrong in many cases. Weapons are also fairly boring to use and never give you that feeling of being a “warrior”. The slow and inaccurate firing may have been intentional to create a more atmospherically damning gameplay, but I think this could definitely be tweaked in a future update. I am not saying this game needs to be like Modern Combat 5 or Afterpulse, just a bit better when it comes to taking out those pesky zombies…… That used to be real people. I seem to forget that they use to be families and caring, loving town folk. All these zombie shows and games have desensitized us all!!! Lol!

Presentation

Radiation City follows a few guidelines which are standard fare, but there are a couple of additions that make the presentation and user interface interesting. The tablet is a nice touch and all of your information and settings can be found here. You can also increase your attributes on the tablet along with checking your map and pushing your latest save to iCloud or restore from your last iCloud save.

 

The options also include graphical settings that can be fine tuned to fit your device. If you are using a 4th Gen Apple TV, you’ll definitely want to reduce some of the settings for the best performance. But if you are lucky enough to have the newest Apple TV 4K, everything turned up as high as they can go will not cause a hiccup in the gameplay. Smooth as butter framerate! It’s really superb with the new Apple TV 4K.

Summary / Value

I am almost positively sure that most players who spend the cash to grab this game will find some sort of enjoyment in it. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but who cares. The atmosphere is downright spooky, especially when playing in the dark, and the game controls are well enough to keep your focus on the tasks at hand. It’s short, it’s tedious at times and it can seem a bit too much like a mashup of genres, but overall Radiation City is a great game for tvOS and should keep you playing for hour after hour.

 

Don’t overlook this game as there is something for everyone and at the price of admission won’t turn your wallet into a wasteland of credit card receipts and lint.

Screenshots

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