Radical Heights is a cancelled third-person survival-shooter developed by Boss Key for the PC. It was originally (and digitally) released by Boss Key as part of Steam Early Access on April 10, 2018, one month before the studio disbanded.
Similar in design to other games in the "battle royale" genre (most notably PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds and Fortnite), Radical Heights had a distinct and overbearing '80s pop culture theme (with a game show aesthetic). Radical Heights is mainly seen in third person perspective, though can be zoomed in to first person as well.
The game was noted as being in "X-treme Early Access" upon release and featured male characters, with female characters grayed out and marked as "Coming Soon."
There are two main parts to Radical Heights: pre-game and in-game.
This lobby screen allows people to queue up for a round, check their cosmetic items in the Prize Room, customize their character or profile and change the game’s options. Additionally, a bar on the right showed advertisements for the free-to-play game’s monetization and a guide on how to play, as well as news updates and messages.
Pre-game, Radical Heights also shows how much regular in-game currency was saved, as well as the premium Rad gems that can be bought for real money.
By pressing the Play button pre-game, participants are sent into a waiting room together with others, as the round tries to find sufficient players. This waiting room has most of the equipment and systems available in the game to try, as well as bicycles and ramps to practice traversal. Once ready, the countdown begins to drop everyone in a random location on the map and start the round.
Up to 100 players can queue up to play a round. If 100 people aren't available, Radical Heights will pad the numbers by adding rudimentary artificial intelligence (AI) opponents.
Players are dropped into a random part of the map, by skydiving onto the field, then subsequently ducking and rolling upon landing without a parachute. An adapted rendition of Kenny Loggins' "Danger Zone" plays while plummeting to the ground. This indicates that Radical Heights does not have fall damage.
At the start of the game, some parts of the playing area, divided into quadrants, are closed and will gradually remove health from players, like any standard battle royale game. This closure is illustrated with TV static. After a short period, this pattern will disappear, sections will open up, and quadrants will start closing randomly instead. Each square that is marked for closure will appear as yellow on the mini-map. If players are inside of this area, they will be urged to exit, with a timer attached to when the quadrant will close and become static. Traversal can either be done on foot or by one of the many BMX bicycles that are parked around the map.
Loot can be scavenged from a number of places, such as houses, stores and motels, but also from vending machines and other auxiliary means, such as various mini-games that will pop up during a session. Pickups vary from firearms to armor and health items. There is also a large cash system that Radical Heights revolves around, where players can use their purchase power to trade for items. Cash is found in various places and in different forms, from straight cash stacks to electronics and other items in the vein of prizes like Smash TV's game show aesthetic.
Each player starts with one weapon and one equipment slot, which can be upgraded separately, up to three slots each. Killing other players will drop their carried items, as well as a guaranteed slot for each type and a portion of their cash.
The playing area will keep closing over time until a finale is unlocked, called the Showcase Shootout. Unlike previous square quadrants, this final area is circular and closes in real-time, until no area is safe from the damaging static. This final place is marked on the map and illustrated with a large, circular light fixture coming down from the sky. Normally, the area will trigger after enough quadrants have gone out of play, but it is also possible for the event to unlock if only ten players are left alive. Players get a small amount of time to get to the Showcase Shootout before the circular area becomes active and all other areas go out of play.
The last person to survive wins the round. Winners are rewarded by having their money doubled. Additionally, Radical Heights has licensed the song "You're The Best Around" by Joe Esposito, which plays at the end of a round.
Aside from health and armor, players also have an adrenaline meter that increases speed. The meter can be filled with health items or by combat. Additionally, Radical Heights allows players to kick doors, which then explode and yield a small amount of adrenaline.
Money is the main element of Radical Heights' systems. It is either used or obtained through most of the game's elements, counted in US Dollar. Here are the ways cash can be found or spent, which aren't just random drops in the world or cash registers that can be destroyed:
- Cashback machine: Inventory items can be sold at these stations to receive a small portions of cash back. Yields vary by item type and don't exceed a few hundred dollars.
- Prize box: These closed rectangles open if a player stands on a dedicated spot in front of it, which triggers a loud waiting music to lure nearby enemies. Once the timer depleted, items inside can vary from gear to special vacation cheques, translated into cash, such as a stay in Cleveland or the Bahamas.
- Presents: Various locations will have gift boxes strewn around that can yield items or a cash prizes. These boxes can also contain a Supply Hotline, which drops high tier items when called.
- Vending machine: These appliances hold one specific item for sale, either a firearm or protective gear. A price is shown at the top of the machine. These single-use slots can also contain items that do not spawn naturally. Protective items are marked as "Gear," while weapons are marked "Topgunz."
- Urgent Care: These are healing stations, where health can gradually be recuperated over time, as the player's cash ticks down in turn.
- ATM: A transaction machine where players can either store dollars for use pre-game or withdraw previous deposits to use in-game.
Throughout a round, special mini-games will appear that players can choose to participate in, to receive a form of differing prizes. Not each game is guaranteed to appear each round, those some of them are always present.
- Special Delivery: At the start of the game, it's possible for this game to appear. This objective tasks whoever takes it on to mount a special bicycle propped up on a podium and take it to a finish line on a different part of the map. Once started, enemies will be able to see where the finish line is. Nearby players can also hear the music that the special BMX generates. Whoever crosses the finish line with the bike will receive special, high tier armor.
- Cash Drop: Several circular areas on the map will appear, where cash showers from on high. Players that stay in this circle will start generating cash over time.
- Spin to Win: These stands will get carried on a zip-line across the sky and then dropped into the playing area. A wheel on top of it rotates and shows a varying set of prizes that can be gotten by activating the button below. Yields include high tier weapons, armor or health items, as well as a chance to spawn a bicycle.
Most loot in the game comes in different tiers, marking their rarity or potency. There are five different tiers, ranging from 0 to 4. Like Borderlands and other shooters, the tiers are color-coded. Weapons have more attachments tied to them, such as silencers and scopes, depending on their higher level. Here are the different colors:
- Level 0: Gray
- Level 1: Green
- Level 2: Blue
- Level 3: Gold
- Level 4: Purple
Players start with only their fists, but can pick up a series of firearms and explosives to damage and kill others. Firearms are categorized in four different sections: Pistol, SMG, Shotgun and Rifle, though the latter also contains special level 4 weapons that differ from traditional rifles. Otherwise, loot varies mainly in ammo capacity and fire modes.
- Hi Power
- Python - This is the only pistol that can have a scope
- Uzi - This is the only SMG that can have a scope
- S1887 - Only level 0
- Stakeout 37 - Only level 0
- SPAS 12 - Only level 4
- Frag grenade - Only level 0
- REX - Remote explosive
- M16 A1
- Aug A1 - Rarer drop rate
- Dragunov - Level 4 sniper rifle
- Rocket Launcher - Level 4 item with high damage, limited ammo
Aside from weaponry, players can equip three different items for either offense or defense. This is also where explosives are stored, not in the three weapon slots.
- Burger: Small heal over time and adrenaline boost
- Bandages: Small instant heal
- Med Kit: Large instant heal, but longer deploy time
- Inflatable Decoy
- Smoke Grenade
Cosmetics in Radical Heights can be unlocked either by buying Rad Gems for real money or by storing in-game dollars, instead of spending them on items. To be able to unlock cosmetics for dollars, such as shoes, shirt and sunglasses, players first have to find them in-game. Only three of these found clothes, which vary in rarity and cost, can be extracted per game and will show up in the tally screen once a player's round has ended. Purchases of cosmetics are made in the Prize Room pre-game.
Radical Heights also implemented dances and other emotes, in the vein of games like Fortnite.