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Video Game / Radiation Island

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Radiation Island is a Wide-Open Sandbox Survival Horror game, created by developer Atypical games, and originally released for iOS devices in 2015. It was then ported to PC in 2016, and to Nintendo Switch in 2018.

Your adventure begins aboard a battleship in World War II, somewhere in The Devil's Sea, an area commonly believed to make ships disappear. Suddenly an island flickers into view, klaxons sound as you rush to your station, the flickering increases...and then you find yourself washed up on a beach, naked and with no possessions, as your battleship flickers out of view. Now it's up to you to learn what you can about this Island of Mystery, and stay alive while doing so. You'll need to make or scavenge everything you'll need.

Atypical Games Official site. Available at Apple's App Store.

Radiation Island contains examples of:

  • A Home Owner Is You: The island's safe houses provide a place to heal up, restock, and sleep in relative safety. You'll need to settle in one and turn it into a Player Headquarters to survive. You can craft extra chests to store things. A recent update gave players the ability to build their own houses, complete with multiple floors, stairs, and functional doors. The doors open only for the player who installed them, turning any building into a secure hiding place or storage area. Craft enough furniture like tables, desks, chairs and beds, and An Interior Decorator Is You as a bonus.
  • All There in the Manual: At the start of the game you are equipped with a notebook that contains maps and survival tips. It also stores any notes you find while exploring.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The notes you collect in your travels. They're written by a Japanese physicist conscripted into a secret and unscrupulous division of the Japanese Imperial Army. He ends up working on a device to teleport troops instantly to places where they can win World War II. Despite the signs that the electromagnetic fields are badly affecting animals and people, they proceed with the experiment. It fails, and the scientist finds himself on the island, everything destroyed and the human populace turned into zombies. He hits on a plan to deactivate the towers creating the electromagnetic fields, but fails.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The glider. True, mooks can't attack you as you soar through the air, and it enables you to reach locations you can't fast travel to. launch the glider you must carry it up a mountain first, and landings usually result in broken bones. The highest mountain available is also cold enough to make you die of hypothermia in minutes.
  • Bamboo Technology: Some of the armor you can craft. Also the Tesla weapon, a sort of shock club.
  • Boring, but Practical: Worms. You have to dig for them. Once you have some, you can only use them for fishing. Fishing with worms gets you ten fish at a time, rather than just one. Since each fish cooks up into 3 servings of cooked meat, just one worm is worth 30 meals.
  • Breakable Weapons: Most tools and weapons you can make or find have a limited durability, with no opportunity for repair.
  • Continuing is Painful: In Survival mode, death turns you and your backpack into a Bag of Spilling while respawning you at your last sleep point with nothing.
  • Crapsack World: Hinted at in the notes you find around the island. Eventually you learn that some of the zombies you're fighting were originally prisoners forced to undergo science experiments, others are the mutated scientists who were experimenting on those people, while still others are poor peasants imported as slave labor for the scientists and the army.
  • Earn Your Fun: Before you can leave the area of the island where you washed up, you'll need to collect enough food, weapons, and supplies to survive the trip. Things like crafted armor and the largest backpack require the equivalent of 20 Bear Asses to make them.
  • Everything Is Trying to Kill You: In addition to the usual dangers of radiation, zombies and wild animals, Radiation Island features clouds of fire, lightning, water, or just plain death that at times are easy to spot, and at other times can simply appear on top of you without warning.
  • Exploding Barrels: Justified. There are exploding barrels and tanks throughout the island, but they're usually stored in military compounds, sensibly placed outside and away from building entrances. Killing mooks by shooting the barrels is possible, but opportunities to do so are rare.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The original Japanese teleportation experiment, intended to move troops instantly around the planet in order to win World War II.
  • Healing Herb: The one plant you can harvest on the island can be combined different ways to treat infection, radiation sickness, and zombie bites.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: The game runs its own day and night cycle, which is more than just a cosmetic feature. The island becomes incredibly more dangerous at night, reducing visibility while spawning more enemies and anomalies for you to avoid.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Although the game provides ways to increase your backpack size, you're constantly faced with the problem of deciding what to throw away.
  • Just Add Water: The crafting system.
  • King Mook: On the second island you begin encountering gigantic versions of the regular zombies. They can kill you in a couple of hits, their size allows them to outrun you, and it takes almost two machine gun clips to bring one down. Worse, they remain absolutely still until disturbed, so there's no way to tell if one's nearby unless you run into it.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: The science in-game is hand-waved as electromagnetic machinery strong enough to mess with quantum physics. One side effect is the giant lightning arcs passing between the island's Tesla towers.
  • Matter Replicator: Around the island you can find small machines that will convert the local Unobtainium into materials you need for crafting.
  • Money Spider: Averted, since any mook you kill only drops items appropriate to it, and there are no Piñata Enemies. Killing animals results in Organ Drops. Each zombie type drops items that correspond to the work the human victim did while alive: health items from doctors, weapons from soldiers, and so on. You do have to wonder about the zombies staggering around with bars of lead, though.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Rivals!: It's hinted in-game that Radiation Island was created when the grand Japanese teleportation experiment occurred at the same time as The Philadelphia Experiment, with horrifying results. Both projects were ostensibly intended to give their respective armies an overwhelming advantage during World War II.
  • Ontological Inertia: Completing the storyline does nothing to help you escape, or make the island any less dangerous. Deactivating the towers just means that no new kinds of zombies or anomalies will be created.
  • Plot Coupon That Does Something: The deactivation codes for the Tesla towers. The game gives you one at the start. Each tower you visit gives you the code for the next one.
  • Remixed Level: Radiation Island actually consists of three islands that are exact copies of each other geographically but contain varying levels of resources and dangers. Safe houses, Tesla towers, and dig sites are given different locations for each island.
  • Scenery Gorn: The wrecked buildings and military hardware you discover all over the island. Then you find entire battleships dumped in a pile like broken toys.
  • Scenery Porn: The developers have really Shown Their Work when it comes to the behavior of the day/night cycle. The first part of sunrise and the last part of sunset are still incredibly dark, and require torchlight to see by. Sunrise and sunset also have "golden hours" that would be prized by photographers in the real world. The movement of the "sun" across the sky is consistent enough to function as a clock inside the game. At night, the stars flicker and move across the sky; at random intervals you can spot a shooting star.
  • Schmuck Bait: Chests containing extra resources are distributed around the island. Some of them are obviously booby-trapped by mooks or environmental hazards, and trying to open them just leads to respawning. The same applies to certain safe houses.
  • Shout-Out: Radiation Island gives an extended Shout-Out to The Philadelphia Experiment by mentioning "an American experiment" in passing, including references to electromagnetic equipment and brief time travel in the Apocalyptic Log, and including a disappearing ship surrounded by a green fog in the opening cutscene.
  • Shown Their Work: The codes for the Tesla towers, taken in the order the game gives you, are based on the first 114 digits of pi.
  • Sound-Coded for Your Convenience: Enemies, anomalies, and the day/night cycle all have distinctive sounds. It's not long before you discover which sounds indicate Oh, Crap! moments.
  • Status Effects: Hunger, cold, injuries, radiation, and infection. If your injuries are severe enough, you can only move at a crawl until you heal yourself up.
  • Story Difficulty Setting: Explorer mode.
  • There Are No Tents: You can sleep through the night in-game, but only if you're in a bed inside a building. Fortunately you can craft a bed and place it inside any building you find. Doing so protects you from attacks, but increases your hunger meter and any mooks that might have chased you into the building will just wait for you to wake up. The last place you slept is always your respawning point, so choose it wisely.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay: Since Radiation Island is a survival game, many common sense rules apply: starvation, infection, and radiation can all kill you; falls can break bones; water will drown you if you stay submerged for too long. Escaping mooks by taking to the water in a canoe won't work—they just swim after you, or follow you by walking along the bottom. Another reality is that everything is out to kill everything else, not just you. It's common to wander the island and find leftover meat and pelts from animals killed by mooks. Worse, zombies can infect animals, turning them into poison-spewing zombie animals that are much worse than the original version, and travel in packs.
  • Unobtainium: Explained in-game as "crystallized matter" that is a side effect of creating the island you're marooned on.
  • Visual Pun: The eponymous Radiation Island contains many irradiated areas. The layout of the island forms a radiation symbol.
  • Warp Whistle: You can fast travel to any safe house you've visited, except when mooks are nearby, so there's no way out of a bad situation except by running or fighting.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: The game's UI includes a hunger meter.
  • Zerg Rush: In later stages of the game, mooks will attack in large groups, surrounding you on all sides.