When I first sat down to play my copy of Small Radios, Big Televisions, my faith was already in the Adult Swim brand. Coming a long way since the day of flash games, this network-born publisher cradles creativity. When you play an Adult Swim game, it very much feels like someone gave the reins over and said "Hey, great idea my indie friend. Let's take it and run with it." Rarely am I ever disappointed by anything coming out with the AS name attached.
It's no different in the case of Small Radios, Big Televisions. As always when I open these particular games, I never know what to expect. Maybe a quick blurb talking on the basic concept, some screen shots...but most know this hardly is a fair description of the overall game until you really open it up and get a feel for it. Being a fan of this new retro wave sweeping across the artist board, my first impression on the title screen screamed that this game was going to be for me.
Tracking problems, warped pitches...everything your old VHS player used to drive you mad over was now front and center as little sparkling touches on something striving to capture that era. The levels are bold and geometric. The game plays into your nostalgia of a time long passed. Stages are set in abandoned factories and warehouses where your objective is to find tapes with recordings on them. Each one is labeled to clue on it's content. In finding those tapes the game forces you to complete puzzles to open doors and turn gears. In terms of game play, there's not much more to be said as it's very straightforward. I find it to be a game of quiet enjoyment and exploration. Something you can take your time on and not have to worry about stepping away for a cup of coffee whilst it's left running in the background.
I found Small Radios, Big Televisions to be eerie as it was intriguing. Only a couple minutes in and you know nothing is going to come after you, there's no threat of damage or game overs. No time limits. It's a journey through a distant past, a narrative meant to lead you along. I can honestly say this one isn't for everyone, but if it is for you--you'll undoubtedly enjoy it. As with any Adult Swim game, it's polished and executed well--even if they go completely mental with their concepts, I'll always have faith in what they publish.