Radical Heights is the latest project from Boss Key Productions. After the launch and subsequential flop of Lawbreakers, which was actually a rather decent game, Cliff Bleszinski is back with a battle royale game to take on PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite and tap into the lucrative market. Is there room for yet another one of these survival games? Not unless a new title brings something fresh to the market, and Radical Heights does that.
Set in what could only be described as a video game recreation of The Running Man (or 80s American gameshow equivalent), Radical Heights refers to each survivor as a contestant. You're part of the game show and your goal is to be the winner for all the prize money. This game sports comedy, a monetary system and a premium currency to unlock cosmetics but it's all done in a way that doesn't negatively impact on the experience.
First off is the money system. You'll be earning bucks by smashing tills and collecting cash from dead contestants, which can be stored away and used outside of matches or on new weapons and other items that can be picked up from vendor machines located throughout the map. It's an interesting mechanic that breaks up the routine of collecting the same weapons over and over again. Cash stored in your account can be withdrawn in-game at an ATM, but this is restricted to $100 a time so you'll need to ensure you have ample cover.
The map is an interesting switch too. It's big but the way the play area is reduced is a new approach. Instead of a circle that closes in at a familiar rate, the map is split into grids and random squares will be cut from the play area each round. This makes the player focus on the map a little more and plan ahead, so you're not caught up in the zone and this system does create some excellent late-game situations where everyone is attempting to funnel through an area.
And should you reach the shootout, this is where a circle makes an appearance but closes in at a steady rate, forcing the remaining contestants to show from cover and attempt to take everyone else down. I's a clever way of switching up the similar system used in other games and keeps it feeling somewhat fresh. There are package drops you can call yourself, and even BMX challenges to break up each session, which makes the game feel less like a chore.
It's still early days. The game breaks at times, placeholder content remain, and everything needs a lot of polish but what Boss Key Productions has as a foundation is looking pretty good. Sure, it's always better to see a complete game than a half-baked rush-to-market release to capitalize on the battle royale craze, but what this game could become is something unique. We'll be keeping a close eye on it and future updates and if you're a little tired of the same old gameplay in other games, give Radical Heights a try. It's free.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.