Battle Royale is the current trend in shooter video games of late. In comes the latest soldier in the BR army, Radical Heights brought to us by Boss Key Productions (the dev team that brought us Lawbreakers). Are their tweaks to the genre enough to distinguish them from the crowd? Let's find out in this first impressions piece.
Radical Heights follows the traditional Battle Royale style of dropping a mass of contestants into the playing field without any gear and then task them to survive while finding gear along the way. What sets this one apart from the others? Having an 80's theme and playing itself out as a game show. Where you are racing to gather money to put into vending machines to buy new weapons. While the weapons can have mods on them (scopes, silencers, etc.), they aren't customizable. Making for some easier weapon choices. Items in the game are color coded as well, grey being normal trash type stuff (like a pistol with no attachments) escalating all the way up to gold where weapons may have a scope, silencer and extended magazine depending on its type. Weapons range from pistols, to submachine guns and assault rifles all the way to a rocket launcher. There were a few times the weapons felt a little wonky, but overall gunplay felt nicely done for the type of game they were going for (not the ultra-realistic of ARMA, but a blend of Fortnite and Player Unknown's Battlegrounds). There are various armor pieces you can get to have some bullet protection and healing items that ranged from a cheeseburger to med kits. The standard frag grenade was there, but they also included confetti grenades, noise makers, trampolines, supply drops and decoys.
But it's not just about getting gear in this game. There are BMX bike races for money, spinning wheel of prizes and packages that can have various items. You see, you could focus on surviving and getting to the end, or you could try to make money and then deposit it in an ATM for a later game or to buy cosmetic upgrades. The ATM's in Radical Heights allow you to deposit or withdraw $100 at a time. These aren't fast and you risk being caught by other players while doing this. All while the zone changes. Unlike most Battle Royale game, this one closes off grid sections of the map until only 6 players are left than the final showdown is held under a spotlight as it shrinks.
Is Radical Heights worth your time? Definitely. It's currently available on steam in early access and free to play. It has a founder's pack with cosmetic gear for purchase at the moment, but that's it. It is rough around the edges, some buildings are just flat graphics, sometimes there are weapon hiccups. But if you like Battle Royale type games with an 80's/Gameshow feel, give it a try.