You've snagged countless chicken dinners in PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. You and everyone else in the world are crazy about Fortnite. But have you taken Boss Key Productions' Radical Heights for a spin? It's the newest project from the studio helmed by Cliff Bleszinski, and it's got just about all the raditude one can handle.
Haven't had the chance to see what it's all about yet? You may want to hop in the driver's seat this weekend and try this neon-soaked '80s game show-inspired thrill ride while it's still got that "new battle royale game" smell. Confused? Questions? Not sure it's for you? We've got all the answers.
What is Radical Heights, anyway?
It's a quirky, colorful take on the battle royale genre that rose from the ashes of Boss Key's previous outing, LawBreakers. The free-to-play title is currently only available on PC via Early Access, but depending on how successful it is on Steam, it could end up coming to additional platforms later on.
It's a zany affair based on the kitsch of game shows from the '80s, with a futuristic reality TV setting. If Miami Vice suddenly found its contrast and color settings turned all the way up to "awesomesauce," it would probably look a lot like this. Players are forced to duke it out with each other in small areas for cold, hard cash and fabulous prizes, with the close confines of combat contributing to a frenetic, fast pace that keeps things very interesting.
How is Radical Heights different than the rest of the pack?
Like, gag me with a spoon! If you can't tell right away from looking at it, you're like, not getting the picture. For starters, Radical Heights takes several battle royale conventions and builds on them in new and interesting ways.
An unusual location-based elimination mechanic is one of the most unique elements of Radical Heights. While games like PUBG and Fortnite force players to get closer and closer together as matches wear on via a deadly, ever-shrinking circle, Radical Heights utilizes a grid system where various portions of the map become ticking time bombs over the course of the game. If you find yourself in one of the "danger zones," so to speak, you'll want to evacuate, as staying inside the closed zones will rapidly drain your health. This keeps things hopping, and adds random elements of surprise to matches.
There's also the game's cash mechanic, which is an extremely important part of the experience that you'll learn all about when you start playing. Cosmetics you want to buy in-game will cost you virtual cash (not the real stuff), which you'll have to earn as you play by picking up it up or in the form of prizes found throughout the arena. You can also spend that hard earned moolah mid-match to purchase weapons, armor and other supplies from vending machines. You lose a portion of the cash you accumulated during the match when you die, with the rest rolling over into your offshore account to be used in buying cosmetics.
However, if you want to make sure you get to keep as much money as possible, you can deposit that money into your account via ATMs sprinkled throughout the map. You can even withdraw money from your offshore account to purchase items and get a leg up on your opponents — just be careful, as withdrawing or depositing funds from an ATM leaves you wide open to be taken out by other players looking for an easy kill.
Mini-games will sprout up throughout matches in the form of giant prize wheels to spin or a bike race to participate in, each rewarding players with fabulous prizes. The end of each round forces players into a small, circular arena for a final shootout. Emerge victorious and you'll be treated with a rousing rendition of "You're The Best Around" for good measure.
What does playing Radical Heights feel like?
It's a breath of fresh air when compared to other battle royale games. While it's clear that it was created as a direct competitor to the heavyweights of the genre, it has its own unique feel to it that's unlike other games on the market. Rather than zipping around the grid with regular, run-of-the-mill weapons, you get plenty of interactive items to mess about with, too. BMX bikes and trampolines dot the landscape, and there's always a prize room well-hidden around every corner. There's also the added verticality that ziplines offer.
If you're used to more slow and methodical shootouts in PUBG, or building up defenses in Fortnite, you'll need some time to get used to Radical Heights. Bullets often whizz by your head, as you're always playing in third-person mode and there are no hit-scan weapons to contend with. It's all about staying mobile and going with the flow, which can be lost in translation with some of the other games out there.
It's risk vs. reward, with a focus on figuring out the easiest way to rack up cash and kills so you can make it all the way to the end. You don't take fall damage, so moving around the map is made much simpler. You're constantly being forced out of hiding to face the music (and other enemies), with a cool combat roll move to keep you mobile.
If you're looking for something more arcade-oriented, you'll find plenty to love here. While the game is still a bit rough around the edges, (the game is still in the early stages of Early Access) it's well worth trying as a raucous alternative to the heavy-hitters of the battle royale genre. Plus, it's something you can totally get in on the ground floor with.
Still want to know more about the up-and-coming Radical Heights? Hop on your bike and zoom on over to the Radical Heights wiki for everything you've ever wanted to know about this gnarly new battle royale game.
Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over a decade for publications like G4, Popular Science, Playboy, Empire, Complex, IGN, GamesRadar, Kotaku, Maxim, GameSpot, Shacknews, and more. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!