The Worst Game of All Time? Bad Rats Review.
July 20th, 2009. Many celebrations occurred on this day. Otto Schily, German minister of the interior from 1998-2005 celebrates his 77th birthday. Ford Motor Company has been producing automobiles for 106 years. Millions of people remember Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s historic moonwalk that happened exactly 40 years before. However, perhaps the most unimportant of all of these celebrations, was Invent4 Entertainment’s celebration of their release of Bad Rats.
Bad Rats: the Rats’ Revenge is a self described “physics puzzle game” involving a group of rats committing extreme violence upon their cat prisoners. For the average person, this game is quite obscure (Deservedly so). I asked multiple students if they had heard of Bad Rats; the most common responses were “What?” and “Huh?”.
However, among the community of Steam, a digital game distributor, its status is legendary. One user review proclaims that one is not truly part of the Steam community until one has gifted the game to a friend as a joke. The game enjoys mostly positive ratings, though most are clearly sarcastic.But why is this game so famous? Why is gifting someone a game using your own money a prank on them?
Bad Rats immediately assaults the player with an incredibly ugly menu consisting of difficult to read graffiti art on a large brick wall. This also serves as the introduction to the only setting of Bad Rats, inside an ugly brick building.
Gameplay consists of attempting to maneuver what appears to be a soccer ball onto a button, which causes an orange cat to die in some horrible way. This includes being crushed to death by a piano, being microwaved, electrocuted, burned alive, shot in the head, and a few variations of those. This game is not high quality enough to show any more death animations.
The ball is moved by various objects and rats which perform various functions. These include such brilliant ideas as the Fat Rat, who quite literally does nothing but sit there and be heavy (potentially useful for seesaw-like objects). Lung Rat apparently smokes heavily, but bewilderingly has the ability to blow strong gusts of wind out of his cancerous lungs. Bomber Rat is a rat wearing a turban and sporting a beard who blows himself up on contact with anything. Also, keep in mind that all of these look incredibly ugly due to both awful choice of art style and terrible graphics
Now, obviously we are not dealing with a AAA game here, but is gameplay at least good? No. Obviously. The gameplay is actually what pushes this game over the edge into “worst of all time” territory. The player places objects around the level, at this point nothing, not the ball, not the rats, is moving yet. The player then unpauses the simulation to see how the objects interact, and if they fail to get the ball to the button they make adjustments and try again. Not a bad premise, nor a unique one, however, despite the game proclaiming itself to be physics-based, the developers, through either incredible incompetence or baffling choices, made the game’s physics inconsistent. You can run two identical setups and get completely different results. Let me repeat that, this PHYSICS BASED puzzle game, couldn’t even get it’s physics right. This creates situations where the player cannot tell if they are doing something wrong or if they just need to run their setup a few more times to get it working.
Despite the game’s obvious low quality, though, it enjoys mostly positive reviews on Steam, and even has a small speedrunning (beating the game as fast as possible) community. Why do people flock to this game, out of all the other terrible, cheap games out there?
Well, I think that it is due to this game being one of the exceedingly rare “so bad it’s good’ games. This descriptor, usually reserved for movies such as The Room, Birdemic, and Battlefield Earth, rarely applies to video games due to the fact that most bad games are simply tedious, which isn’t very funny or entertaining.
Bad Rats, however, is different from most bad games. The terrible graphics. The music which… is funny for an almost indescribably quality, the broken English in menus, the stupid decisions on top of stupid decisions. This game is hilarious. I have personally had a great time playing this game with friends as we mock its low quality and trying to figure out its terrible puzzles.
It is for these reasons that I actually have to recommend Bad Rats. Obviously the game is bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Gather your friends together around your computer or in a voice call with a nice copy o’ Bad Rats, and you’re bound for a good time.