The team from Spanish indie developer Nexus Game Studios has created a game that takes talks to the new-found coolness attached to being a geek. It's an adventure game where each scene was created by nerds for nerds. Randal's Monday is total madness, a pure delight for everyone out there with a penchant for tricorders or lightsabers. It's filled to the brim with references, links, names and quotes. This ranges from comic book heroes like Batman, to animated series such as Futurama and South Park, via science fiction and fantasy like Star Trek and The Lord of the Rings. Even Japanese pop culture and zombies are covered.
It's also very important to mention Clerks. The Kevin Smith movie must have made a huge impression on the team. The main character in the game is clearly inspired by Randal Graves and was even voiced by the same actor, Jeff Anderson. And even if this is not a Clerks game, our hero talks in exactly the same way as the the character from that movie.
Initially Randal looks pretty unappealing and it's hard to imagine that we'll learn to like this character. But he turns out to be quite witty and has some pretty crazy ideas to reveal. Publisher Daedalic has actually helped the studio with their work on Randal's Monday, therefore a few similarities are to be expected. Other adventure classics such as The Secret of Monkey Island and The Day of the Tentacle are also referenced. So how did the game get its name? Events conspired that meant somehow Randal becomes stuck in Monday. Every morning when he wakes up it is Monday once gain. Every day when Randal opens his eyes, his best friend Matt kills himself. Every day is just as cruel. It's Groundhog Day all over again.
If Randal changes something in his day, then the universe tries to turn it into something meaningful and alter it in a way that, in the overall scheme of things, means that everything is still alright. So we have to make sure that every day is different, but that they're all interconnected. Any change always results in major adjustments; at some point pigeons no longer populate the city, but you find koalas everywhere.
Nobody said that it would be easy to escape the time loop, reach Tuesday, and thus save the world. The aforementioned references are hidden throughout the game, and to some extent they're even included in the puzzles. Some solutions seem absurd, but for someone who knows the classics there may be hints that make it a bit easier at times. Despite all the geeky references and the repetitious Mondays, this is a very much a classic adventure game. There are some almost unsolvable inventory and dialogue puzzles (happily there's a guide included).
The game mechanics and art-style for this adventure mightn't work for everyone, even if there are a few modern elements when it comes to the interface. However, the voice acting is great and the graphics are just fine. Anyone who is happy to confess a nerdystreak, and those who enjoy adventure games, should definitely give this a chance. Randal's Monday is almost akin to a playable museum, where the more extensive your nerd knowledge is, the more fun you can have with the game. It's just a shame that the classic mechanics will hold it back from a wider audience.