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To Mutate is your Fate

Rad is a 2019 Roguelike third-person action game from Double Fine and is the brainchild of Lee Petty who also made Stacking and Headlander.

Set in a world where the apocalypse happened twice a small band of survivors are running low on the power that sustains their small population. The only solution available is to send off a cavalcade of young would-be saviours into the hard unforgiving landscape, to recover power sources and keep their community alive. To facilitate this the elder transforms each young hero to convert the deadly titular "Rads" into useful mutations.

Contains examples of the following tropes:

  • 90% of Your Brain: The flavor text for the Chronobellum mutation references this trope as it explains that your new enlarged brain makes your 10% now 50% relative to most other people, meaning you can do "quantum crap" with your mind.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Depending on the mutations the player unlocks could be anything from psycic energy, eggs or even the character's own arm.
  • After the End: After a nuclear apocalypse a group of people called "The Menders" try to, well, mend the world using a series of machines. They promptly malfunctioned and disappeared; leaving the world in a worse state than when they started.
  • Attack Drone:
    • One of the mutations grants a back mounted head-sized creature that independently shoots the nearest enemy. It can be thrown or placed on a spot to act as a turret, and detonated to damage any enemies too close before regrowing on your body.
    • One of the Artifacts spawns a retro pixel space-ship that shoots enemies independently of the player.
  • Batter Up!: The base weapon of the game is a baseball bat with some sort of technology in it that'll make it respawn at the town if the player dies.
  • Battle Boomerang: Only it's actually the character's arm and it sounds painful every time they "throw" it.
  • Bear Trap: Randomly placed in area two, there is a mutation that'll helpfully highlight these hazards and anything else secretly waiting to harm the player.
  • Bullfight Boss: The minotaur themed boss, Maxotaur, behaves like this.
  • Bullet Time: A brain sprouting on the player's back will somehow slow down time, causing this.
  • Bio Punk: Given the premise of mutating various parts of your body this is pretty much a certainty.
  • Body Horror: The way the character can mutate can be very extreme from protruding brains, tails, wings, to having their whole bottom half transformed into spider legs or into a bull. Returning to town will result in various characters commenting on your new appearance.
  • Booby Trap: Some chests are actually lined with explosives that'll pop out if the player approaches creating fire damage.
  • Crate Expectations: Found throughout the game but most prevalent in the fallout shelters. They normally contain nothing but randomly will have some loot in them.
  • Dig Attack: The crab leg mutation allows the player to dig under the ground and pop=up damaging and knocking all enemies above them away.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: Crates, ruined cars, fridges and even whole skeletons litter the landscape; so of which will house currency or healing items.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title can refer to the game's cultural allusions or its gameplay lore.
  • Double Jump: You can unlock an artifact that'll give the character a second jump. On top of this, you can also mutate wings allowing for a possible triple jump.
  • Double Unlock: As you defeat enemies through your runs you'll unlock new mutations, items and artifacts, of course, you've still got to actually find these new unlocks in the randomly generated world.
  • Experience Points: XP is justified in the lore as radiation absorbed from downed mutants being absorbed by the empowered player character to develop beneficial mutations.
  • Extra Eyes: Obtaining the "Cobruh" snakehead will see the player gaining extra eyes on their left side, while their right eye will look corrupted.
  • Fartillery: Another mutation will have the player expel a ring of gas that'll destroy any projectiles. It's also highly flammable so may be more trouble than it's worth.
  • Flaming Skulls: The Warhead mutation has your head converted to a skull with green flames running over it.
    "The bad news is that your head is on fire, and it has burned all your face meat away. The good news is that your noggin is also a weapon of mass destruction, and it grows back after you launch it."
  • Flying Face: The final boss of the game, Colossus, is a massive floating head.
  • Geo Effects: The floor can be electrified, have pools of toxic waste, or be set on fire by certain enemies to cause gradual damage to the player or other monsters. There are endo-mutations that grant immunity to each one.
  • Green Thumb: Every person that is put through the transformation process becomes a friend to plants. They'll grow under their feet and some plants will unravel allowing access to new areas of the map.
  • Goomba Stomp: If the player is wearing some golf shoes they'll cause damage to enemes when they land on them.
  • Hearts Are Health: Give the retro feel it's quite appropriate.
  • Heart Container: Commonly dropped after an area's boss. Mini-bosses tend to drop a mutation that'll add an "extra chamber" to your heart allowing it to take an additional hit too.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Enemies sometimes drop meat; either as steaks or more rarely a row of ribs. They come out raw and heal a single piece of health, but if they're caught in a fire, they'll be cooked and restore more health. Sugary drinks will heal between 1-3 hearts while a bottle of hot sauce will give a slow regeneration effect.
  • Inescapable Ambush: All boss rooms will automatically lock you in their arena but there are also rooms in the underground section that won't let you leave until you defeat the enemies within.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Littered throughout the game are treasures chests that'll only open if the player uses a floppy disc.
  • Kid Hero: All the characters you can choose from are teenagers. The excuse given is that the older generation simply can't make the trek however when talking with other teenagers back at town they just think they're lazy.
  • Kill Streak: The game keeps track of how many enemies you kill in quick succession and informs you of when it's lost after four deaths. There is an achievement for getting it 10 or above.
  • Large Ham: The Elder who constantly speaks in a loud booming voice. He also narrates every menu option such as graphics, controls or simply pausing the game.
  • Life Drain: The vampire ability allows the player to randomly regain health after attacking enemies.
  • Losing Your Head: One mutation allows you to throw your head at enemies, which will then explode.
  • Made of Explodium: Cars, plants, enemies and even the controlled character's head can and will explode.
  • Mind Manipulation: One of the powers the player can gain will allow you to take control of lesser enemies and have them become your ally.
  • Mirror Boss: The Corrupted are Remades just like the player, of course, the difference is they get to fight in a large group.
  • Mook Maker: Several bosses will spawn weaker enemies, which can be helpful as they may drop healing items. Amusingly the player themselves can become this with the correct mutation allowing them to spawn two helpful spider-like creatures with the player's head attached.
  • Mook Promotion: Inbetween the stages of each area you'll meet "Alpha" creatures that are standard enemies but with a larger health pool.
  • Permadeath: As with most Roguelikes each character will only get one life. You can deposit money for future runs and unlocks also pass over.
  • Power Glows: Neon, obviously.
  • Randomized Title Screen: Similar to your runs the Double Fine logo as you boot up the game will have different mutations.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: each level area is random and the mutations you receive are also random; creating very different runs.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: One mutation gives the player an elemental shield that'll restore over time. However, their health will remain static.
  • Retraux: Purposely styled to not feel out of place if it was released in The '80s.
  • Ring Out: Sending enemies off the edge kills them instantly, occasionally causing the announcer to chime in with "Got 'em!"
  • Shows Damage: At critical health the player character starts dripping blood and hobbles when they walk.
  • Skill Slot System: There are two categories of mutations. Exo mutations bring visible changes to the character along with an ability that can be activated at will mapped to both right triggers and the secondary left trigger buttons. These can be reassigned between those three buttons at will. Endo mutations are passive abilities that grant some kind of boost. Quirks are endo mutations unlockable by gameplay milestones that can be chosen along with your character at the start of a new session.
  • Snake People: The "Cobruh" exo mutation turns your head into a cobra that allows you to strike at mutants from a distance and apply poison Damage Over Time.
    "You rolled snake eyes! Strike out at your enemies and sink your toxic fangs into them, then leave them for dead."
  • Spring Jump: The third area of the game has a series of these scattered throughout the level to allow players without wings to traverse the area.
  • Stationary Boss: Hardwood, the tree boss, that unlike every other boss is rooted to the spot.
  • Terrain Sculpting: As you progress and activate "respirators" plants will spontaneously grow in the area.
  • Truly Single Parent: The "Death Roe" exo mutation allows you to pop out eggs that instantly hatch out spider-legged mutants with your character's head, regardless of their gender. You can only have two children at a time while laying more eggs just makes them explode.
    "Spawn eggs from your newly formed cloaca. Your hatchlings will instinctively want to follow and protect mommy. Your body can birth only so many babies at a time, and will begin producing explosive eggs if you push it."
  • Victory Fakeout: Dividulous is a three-headed boss that has relatively easy to dodge attacks but a large HP pool. Once the life bar depletes to zero, unsurprisingly given the name, the boss divides into three smaller enemies each with their own life bar and better-aimed projectiles.
  • Weapons That Suck: One mutation spawns a mouth the player can throw on the floor. It'll suck up collectibles and projectiles while immobilizing enemies.
  • Walking Wasteland: Several enemies leave behind a trail of toxic goo that'll damage the player. The player themselves can become this with the correct mutation leaving behind their own trail of toxic goo instead of the normal trail of plants and flowers.
  • Weird Currency: Trade throughout the game is handed with media formats. Cassette tapes are the standard nomination, CDs are worth more than cassettes, while Floppy discs are used to unlock chests and doors.
  • X-Ray Vision: One of the passive mutations; allows the player to see what they will gain from defeating each enemy and any hidden objects in the world.