Straight from Adult Swim Games, This is the description of Small Radios Big Televisions:
“Small Radios Big Televisions is a game about exploring digital worlds stored on analog media.
Travel through the deserted structures of disused factories, finding tapes of virtual worlds left behind. Some of these tapes may contain clues to help you progress, some need to have their worlds distorted and ripped apart by magnetic fields to discover what’s stored inside.”
It’s honestly a good thing the story doesn’t really matter in this title because it’s pretty obscure and playing through it doesn’t really give you any more clarity behind that.
I am not typically the target audience for Puzzle games to be honest but this one interested me. The overall basic concept of the game is to make your way through each of the factories utilizing the cassette tapes hidden along the way to find the keys. Each of these cassette tapes is a VR environment that you have to search through to find the key. Some are there and just hidden, some need to have the tape manipulated by magnets (if you’re over 30 you know what magnets do to tapes) in order to change the environment to discover your key.
The environments in the factory levels are often very similar just a run down empty warehouse with slight color alterations throughout the levels. The VR tapes while often dull, give a nice break from the monochromatic environments in the factory. There is some traveling back and forth to be done depending on the order you found things in, you can take many different ways to get from point A to point B so you might have to back track for something you overlooked. The game doesn’t take very long to play through, it was about 3 hours total for me including the times i was stuck or hung up on a puzzle but the haunting environment made it entertaining throughout.
The overall gameplay style is similar to the point and click adventures on the PC in the 90s which was a nice nostalgic feel. The only downside sometimes was the “snapback” you’d get from the cursor trying to center itself. The graphics are clean and simplistic as is the music. Although the music is repetitive it didn’t get annoying over time, it just further added to the atmosphere.
Since I am a sucker for a good story though I was a little let down on the lack of one in this instance. They do a good job of building some suspense and wonder however to not really ever clear things up. Perhaps a sequel will come later to help and improve on the foundation here.
While overall short, mild control issues, and a little bit of repetitive puzzles solving it delivers a bizarre and fun ride. This game begs to be fleshed out into something much bigger. But if you are a puzzle fan and would enjoy a short endeavor into Small Radios Big Televisions, grab your tape deck and press play.