Restart: In The Gaming Matrix

It’s a game within a game within a game, and every episode it’s anyone’s guess where in the Matrix our protagonist resides. With constant twists and turns, an energetic cast, and tons of easter eggs for video gamers, Restart is a BBC4 thriller audio drama that makes the most of its “is this reality” trope. Carried by its likeable lead 16-year-old video game addict Eddie, played by Sex Education’s Armin Karima, Restart explores its gamer culture premise but doesn’t demand listeners be gamers themselves. It does, however, demand your full attention. Something that in my estimation is not entirely reward by the end.

Set-off by an abduction, followed by a quest into secret facilities, and sleuthing out hidden meanings in games, Restart benefits from BBC’s typically first-rate production and cast promising a mind-bending cyber-lined adventure tale. What it delivered was one that quickly evaporated from my head once completed. Increasingly less grounded plot turns, leaning into YA sensibilities and too many questionable character motivations resulted in a loss of steam for me by a barely memorable close. Fortunately, the 8 episodes moved quickly enough before my interest totally petered out.

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