Radiation Island Review (iOS)
Radiation Island is a survival adventure game inspired by the Philadelphia Experiment of 1943. Supernatural elements abound in this open world experience, and don't be surprised if this universe has you on the hook for hours on end.
The disappearance of a U.S. Navy destroyer is at the heart of the Philadelphia Experiment, and Radiation Island's opening moments feature a brief glimpse of a ship in momentary disarray. You are immediately transported to Radiation Island with the barest of essentials, and by collecting food and building items, your task is to survive and head back home.
With wolves, crocodiles, bears, and even zombies waiting to tear you down, surviving a day in Radiation Island without a suitable weapon is almost improbable. If your bloodthirsty neighbors don't eat you, starvation will spell your doom. Bravery, ingenuity, and organization are skills that must be immediately cultivated in Radiation Island, since the clock is always ticking.
Although part of the title's allure centers on killing zombies, as well as collecting page journals that gradually unravel the mystery of your surrounds, much of Radiation Island's activities center on the day to day crafting and collecting of items. Since your backpack doesn't have limitless space, you'll need to store your extra material in different chests that are located within different cabins and structures on the island. Although grabbing as many usable items as possible before sundown is always a must, knowing how to spread out your inventory is just as important.
Since the island is completely spread out, knowing the exact location of your most essential resources is imperative, as cluelessly running around a dangerous location on a wild goose chase is simply a waste of time. Crafting, as well as a health and hunger icons, are located at the top of your device. Once you touch the craft icon, your item creation options are simply a click away (Building a bow and a collection of arrows for hunting should be your first order of business).
If you simply want to live in a cabin by the beach and eat to your heart's content, Radiation Island can also exist as your very own Robinson Crusoe experience. A substantial portion of my gameplay focused on daily survival. Whether it's fashioning fruit traps near my cabin to catch rabbits or even sticking an arrow into a sheep for its wool, there are a ton of activities to accomplish before attempting to answer the island's seemingly unsolvable enigma.
Touching the right side of your device gives you a directional view of the island, and to walk towards your destination, you will slide and touch the left side of the device. A jump button is located on the lower right hand side, with a left and right activity button serving as your hands. Though the controls are relatively seamless, I've had occasional difficulty climbing up and down stairs, and the combat mechanics, employed by the simple tap of a button, are nothing to write home about.
Radiation Island's less than stellar fighting experience is easily forgiven, as its creative heart rests in the sheer mystery of its surroundings. As you progress throughout the adventure, you'll discover journal pages that gradually uncover the island's darkest dimensions. Fans of TV's ‘Lost’, in which questions were always wrapped into different possibilities, will easily gravitate to the title's narrative.
Even if you've found the right ingredients to build a fire or torch, many of your nights on Radiation Island may be spent reading your growing journal or creating objects for the morning exploration (most of the structures also have makeshift beds, and you can skip nighttime altogether with this sleep option). The beauty of an inspired open world is its sheer breadth of imagination, and thankfully Radiation Island fits into this rarefied universe.
Another excellent decision was to keep its music score understated and subtle, as the main attraction of the adventure is the actual island. There are music cues when danger arises, but most of the game's music gives the adventure an often meditative and ultimately spellbinding tone. Radiation Island is also a visual marvel, as every nook and cranny of your new environment is a feast for the eyes.
Radiation Island is a game that may require hours of dedication, but considering it's a survival adventure that hits almost every creative note, that shouldn't be a problem. Once you beat the game, multiplayer mode is unlocked, and this new horizon shows Radiation Island is a gift that keeps on giving. You may suffer your share of zombie attacks and radiation poisoning along the way, but life on the island is a gamer's paradise, even if hell is just around the corner.
This review is based on a code for Radiation Island provided by the publisher for iOS.