“July Ann does not have a boyfriend”, I am reliably informed by one of Radiohammer’s loading screen tool tips immediately after two pervert scientists have argued over the cup size of their giant, July Ann-alike robot boss.
It’s possible, likely even, that “July Ann” is meant to be ‘Julie-Ann’, but I can’t be sure. Some of the sentence structure and wording in the game is a little off; the tutorial loading screen, for example, helpfully advises the player to “TAB HERE”. That said, it’s entirely possible that the translation errors are intentional – such is the nature of Radiohammer.
Let’s rewind a little.
Radiohammer greeted me with bright, bubblegum colours and Japanese pop-art stylings, before Miss Rabbit (a woman-rabbit agent who recruits July Ann) warned of a gang of perverts over-running the Blossom Festival we were currently enjoying.
July Ann, it transpired, was to be tasked with smacking said perverts in the face with a massive, pink, Totoro-meets-Kirby-esque mallet before they could flash their wares from beneath their standard-issue trench coats.
That’s not much more intelligible. Hang on.
By the time a 100 foot tall, disfigured, destructive robot stands in July Ann’s way, it’s clear that Radiohammer aims to misbehave. It presents the kooky and the uncomfortable side-by-side with a deft flourish, and scarcely pauses to take a breath, let alone care.
Perverts are running amok, and their ultimate mockery is to build, and control, a robot modelled on July Ann in order to destroy their would-be foe. That her response is less-than-positive surprises no-one but the pervert scientists themselves.
“We will throw a festival of the perverts, by the perverts, for the perverts.”
For the rhythmically challenged, like myself, the simplicity of a single tap input dissipates throughout the 15 levels that comprise July Ann’s story. My admiration for the ludicrous setting and tone gave way to admiration for some truly frantic, furious and fantastic rhythm-action action (…action?).
That the second character’s story and set-up – a Men In Black aesthetic in which an alien invasion must be fended off with a gold and diamond hammer wielded by MC Wayne at the behest of his handler, a suited chicken called Burningheart – seems comparatively pedestrian speaks volumes to the wacky tone Radiohammer sets from the first moment.
“At least you saved the world. It doesn’t matter even if you are looking bad.”
If I were reaching, I would say that metaphor and satire are rife in Radiohammer. Arguments could be made for social media, video games, peer pressure, objectification through idolisation, and those who value such criticism all being under fire.
The truth is that, satire or not, ab absurdo reigns supreme. Under the guise of a simple, cuddly, colourful mobile game, Radiohammer’s off-the-wall tone could hit spectacularly wide of the mark if it wasn’t so expertly handled… I think.
Or, maybe it’s just a really fun, wonderfully weird, rhythm-action game.