Small Radios Big Televisions Review

Meta Critic


          
Developer: Fire Face Publisher: Adult Swim Games Platform: PS4/PC

          

The game leans heavily on its visuals and sound but can't sell its simplistic gameplay

Small Radios Big Televisions is an odd little game developed by Fire Face and published by Adult Swim Games. At its heart it’s a very simplistic exploration puzzle game that seeks to woo the player with trippy visuals rather than actual engaging gameplay. Unfortunately the result is a barren affair that feels less like high art and more like postmodern indie wank.

member-cassettes-i-member

Member cassettes? I member

SMBT does little to introduce itself, simply thrusting you into a strange facility and letting you have at it. You play as…a reticule…that can open doors and manipulate simple machinery and objects. The main mechanic in the game is a series of cassettes you can play in your trusty Walkman. Playing a tape will transport you to a strange world where your objective is usually to find a green gem to open doors.  If you can’t find one you can mess the scene up using magnetic distorters littered about the joint and then have another crack. All in all, the gameplay is barely there and the puzzles are about as hard to solve as a crossword in a Dolly magazine.

become-the-mighty-reticule

Become the mighty reticule

this-is-where-treefu-tom-comes-to-drop-acid

This is where Tree Fu Tom comes to drop acid

rad-dude

You need to be this rad to play this game

One thing you can say about the game is that the visuals are quite interesting. Each cassette has a particular theme and some of them definitely triggered some acid flashbacks. There’s also a really slick and subdued sci-fi synth soundtrack that pairs nicely with the triptophonic visuals.

There’s a very vague narrative hidden across the barely two-hour playthrough that is obscure to the point of feeling pointless. Without a compelling narrative, the game flounders to find any sort of traction and the mystery surrounding the facility simply dissipates like the lonely fart of a moustachioed art connoisseur drinking a craft beer in an empty art gallery.

…Without a compelling narrative, the game flounders to find any sort of traction and the mystery surrounding the facility simply dissipates like the lonely fart of a moustachioed art connoisseur drinking a craft beer in an empty art gallery…

do-you-mean-to-this-easy-puzzle-or-the-game-itself-woah-meta

Do you mean to this simple puzzle or the game itself? Woah, meta

ice-not-even-once

Ice. Not even once

Final Thoughts

Small Radios Big Television has a great visual tone and theme, and toys with a few interesting narrative ideas only to lose them to a vagueness that borders on pretentiousness. I get the feeling that this game was created less to be played and more as a vehicle to muck around with quirky visuals. You’ll probably find a few people who enjoy this one, but personally I need a little more game in my games.

Reviewed on PS4

Good

  • Quirky visual style
  • Great soundtrack
  • Walkman

Bad

  • Puzzles are overly simplistic
  • Narrative is too vague
  • Incredibly short
4

Carn Mate

Kieran is a consummate troll and outspoken detractor of the Uncharted series. He once fought a bear in the Alaskan wilderness while on a spirit quest and has a PhD in organic synthetic chemistry XBL: Shadow0fTheDog PSN: H8_Kill_Destroy
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