Welcome to Radiation Island. As the name suggests, it’s highly irradiated, and in video games, that means one thing: zombies.
Well, it also means a struggle for survival against hunger, injuries, wild animals, and zombies, if you happen to be stuck there. Which you are, if you play the game. As the nameless main character, you’re tasked with exploring the island, crafting weapons and food, and surviving against everything that wants to kill you.
There are a lot of ways to die in this game. Hunger, bleeding out, killed by wolves, and succumbed to the elements are just a few ways to die early on, but crafting the right items can help survive against those.
The game plays well enough. with WASD controls and several keys to toggle for the inventory, settings, and other menu options. The mouse is used for looking around, direction, and attacking (a usual “click on something to use your weapon on it” style of combat), while a separate key is used for picking up items and materials you find.
Crafting plays a large part of surviving, with you having to create rudimentary weapons and tools out of the equipment you can find, collect materials, and use those to make better weapons and tools to progress farther. That’s key very early on, because while you can technically punch out the creatures you encounter with your bare hands, they can and will tear you apart quickly if you don’t make a weapon first. Even then, you’re likely to die more than once early on as you bleed out from any wounds they inflict. Before fighting irradiated undead, you’ll have to learn to survive against nature, and wolves can stack up a few kills early on. (Keep an eye on the red arrows that indicate enemies nearby.)
It can be tricky to figure out what you need to do early on; after the introduction and walkthrough, it only gives you a general idea of where you need to go and what you need to do, but those feeling unsure can check the menu for the tasks you need to accomplish. The story also builds and grows as you progress further into the island, so you’ll learn quickly just what you need to do.
The graphics are fine, with well-rendered environments and characters. Everything moves smoothly, although the animation for when you die of wounds bleeding out is so sudden it’s a little funny. The humanoid characters can look a bit odd at times, but considering what’s happening to everyone on the island, it’s acceptable. Aside from that small nitpick, the game looks good and runs well. A little more story early on would be nice, but it’s pretty easy to figure out that you need to survive and fight off zombies.
All in all, Radiation Island is a fine game; it may not appeal to all players, but those who like building up the tension, fighting to survive, and gathering materials to create their items will find it enjoyable.
Radiation Island is available for purchase on Macintosh computers for $2.99 from the App Store.