Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Are you having trouble with wolves, zombies, or general starvation? Check out our Radiation Island beginner's guide!
As far as conspiracy theories go, the Philadelphia Experiment is a good one to base a game around. Urban legend states the priject, which was supposedly conducted by the United States' Army in 1943, turned a US Navy destroyer invisible - thus paving the way for technology that would hide other ships and weapons from enemy eyes.
But where do "invisible" things go once they're zapped out of our realm of existence? According to Radiation Island from Atypical Games, the answer is "some mysterious place that's super-hostile." Thus begins a game that's all about survival, crafting, and exploration.
In Radiation Island, you start your journey on the beach (an appropriate place, as fans of nuclear disaster movies will immediately pick up on). You don't know where you are; you just know things are out to kill you, including the elements, wildlife, and zombies. You have to start scavenging and looking for shelter if you want to stand a chance.
Though Radiation Island takes obvious inspiration from Minecraft, it's not as playful. It's also not as satisfying to play, admittedly. When you work through an open-world game that's all about putting stuff together to gradually make your primitive life easier, you want to start hacking and digging at everything. But Radiation Island's level of environmental interactivity is comparatively limited.
The game still gives you plenty to do, however. The world is huge and full of ruins, mountains, lakes, trees, and plants. Raw materials can be crafted to make weapons and survival tools. Vicious animals leap on you if you blunder into their territory, and if you don't put them down quickly you risk bleeding to death. Oh, and there are pockets of radiation. Quick biology lesson - Radiation and human cells do not play nicely together.
There's an encompassing story about figuring out how to get home, but let's be honest: survival is your main concern in Radiation Island, and you're going to spend a lot of time cobbling together supplies to keep ahead of the animals, hunger, and the cold weather. Some players may have issues with the game's on-screen controls, but they're generally responsive and you can freely customize the interface to place the action buttons wherever you want.
While Radiation Island doesn't offer the raw fun and imagination of Minecraft, it's still a good time if you're the kind of person that likes pitting yourself against the wild (from the comfort of your couch, preferably with a bowl of hot soup by your side). Just watch your battery power. This game gobbles it up like a zombie scarfing a fresh kill.