Red Radish Robotics

by Gibbo

Dystopian sci-fi
2020

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Number of Reviews: 3
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Fingersmith, December 11, 2020
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2020

In some ways it’s apt that the randomizer gave me Red Radish Robots right after Ascension of Limbs (yes, I’ve gotten to the point in the Comp where I’m starting to think about the randomizer…), because while AoL’s secret sauce was that it was just the right length for its content, RRR suffers from going on too long for the interest its setting and puzzles can support.

The concept is a fine if unexceptional one – robot waking up after some kind of disaster and trying to reconstruct what’s happening while solving straightforward puzzles – but the trouble is, it isn’t too hard to suss out what’s happened, and the puzzles are all quite straightforward. The closest thing to a twist is that the robot has been deactivated without fingers, so you need to gather them one by one until you have a full complement of ten, which allows you to get to the end-game. But ten is too high a number to which to have to count, given that you mostly find them by unlocking doors (some with keys, some by oiling stuck hinges), opening multiple safes, finding a note where someone’s written down their computer login and clues to their password… Again, there’s nothing wrong with the classics, but in too large portions it feels overly starchy.

There are ways to be destroyed or get to a dead end, but a limited number of respawns are possible (respawns also appear to somehow rewind time as to at least one object, which is helpful but confusing!) The writing is typo-free and does what it needs to to communicate the setting and what’s going on. And there are a couple of puzzles that have a bit more zip to them, like the final one (Spoiler - click to show)(though requiring the player to lie to the “bad” robot, then sucker-punch him while shouting out that I’m fine being a slave was maybe not my favorite aspect of the game). But my interest started to flag on like the sixth spin through the same eight rooms to see what one new quotidian interaction my incremental progress had unlocked, before having to do the inevitable seventh. All this speaks well of what the author will do next – and there are indications there’s more work already in the oven – hopefully with a bit of trimming to cut away any unneeded filler!