Does Small Radios Big Televisions provide a fun and unique puzzle exploration experience? Check out our review of Small Radios Big Televisions.
Small Radios Big Televisions is a unique puzzle exploration game that centers around the finding and collecting of tapes spread throughout various locales. The game takes an interesting approach in both its mechanics and aesthetics and provides an interesting and sometimes creepy tone. The overall mystery of the game is what compelled me to keep playing and in some instances, it felt very Portal esque especially in the subtle storytelling. Small Radios Big Televisions is the newest game being released by adult swim games. The newly formed publishing studio has released some unique titles like the recently released Headlander. Hopefully with the release of Small Radios Big Televisions adult swim games can continue to support indie developers and keep making clever and unique games.
The gameplay in Small Radios Big televisions is relatively straightforward, the player collects tapes and solves puzzles to progress. Each time you solve a puzzle associated with your collected tapes you are rewarded with a green orb that allows you to access new rooms within that particular area. The puzzles can be very difficult at times and require careful studies of each room and each environment. My main complaint with the puzzles and gameplay was the overall monotony of it. For the first hour, the gameplay and puzzles were fun, but after a few hours the concept definitely wore thin. It also doesn’t help that the controls, at least for the PS4, can be infuriating. For some reason the reticle you use to solve puzzles constantly re centers and at times can be very annoying. I also found it was very easy to lose your sense of direction, most of my time was spent constantly checking the map to figure out which rooms I have and haven’t visited. The map within the game is decent but could have been better especially on some of the more difficult puzzles. One of the coolest aspects of the Small Radios Big Televisions is the tapes and the worlds you visit within the tapes. The concept of rewinding the tapes and seeing how it affected each particular tape was interesting and provided many unique gameplay moments. Overall the gameplay in Small Radios Big Televisions is good and if you are a fan of puzzle games then will enjoy the gameplay.
Sound and Graphics
The graphics in Small Radios Big Televisions are good overall, but it’s the artistic direction and design that makes this game stand out amongst its peers. The 80’s/90’s artistic style is fantastic and many people will get nostalgic over the use of cassette tapes. The grainy quality to the aesthetic is very reminiscent of old VHS tapes, and I personally felt this added to the overall atmosphere Fire Face was trying to create. The sound design is also excellent the spooky atmospheric music lent well to the exploration and made my hours spent solving puzzles not feel so monotonous. The sound design and artistic direction Fire Face implemented in Small Radios Big Televisions is captivating and one of the most unique aspects of this game.
The story in Small Radios Big Televisions isn’t apparent at first. However, if you do take the time to learn and gather information from some of the audio segments in between each area you will learn a lot about the world Fire Face has created. There is also plenty of environmental storytelling as well. Many of the puzzles are solved by looking at the drawings on the wall and implementing them in each puzzle accordingly. You also gain a lot of insight into the world by studying some of the drawing and messages written in each area. This aspect reminded me of Portal and inspired me to learn more about what transpired at these various facilities and what my actual role was. Sometimes it is refreshing for a game to not constantly bombard the player with story and narrative. Some of my favorite games don’t rely heavily on linear storytelling, and they simply trust that the player has enough intelligence to figure it out on their own.
Overall Small Radios Big Televisions is a good game, although some of the mechanical and gameplay issues hold it back from being great. The atmosphere and interesting music Fire Face has provided make this game stand out from other puzzle exploration games. The concept in Small Radios Big Televisions is interesting but the gameplay loop did become stale after a few hours. If you are looking for a fun game and are a fan of solving puzzles, then Small Radios Big Televisions is game that is definitely worth your time.