REVIEW: Retro/Grade For The PSN
It’s no secret that most games today can be over complicated. With deep customization, complex move lists, numerous items to keep track of and confusing inventories it’s nice to see a game that brings a truly clever yet relaxing style of gameplay with it. When that same game also brings an amazing soundtrack with it things start to get really good!
I grew bored a long time ago of the whole rhythm music game genre. My huge collection of plastic instruments was put away in the closet, I stopped assaulting my friends with my horrible singing on the weekends, and I never even opened the keyboard I bought for Rockband 3. To me music games were the gaming world’s equivalent of the Greek story of Icarus. They simply flew too high too fast and I got burned out rather quickly. Then a game like Retro/Grade comes along and with its incredibly fun and extremely clever gameplay my hopes that the music rhythm game genre may have a new life have been revived.
At its core Retro/Grade is one of those games that is simple to pick up and play but yet seemingly impossible to master. Its gameplay is truly unique but above all else………its fun! Very fun actually and it’s impossible not to get sucked in by the amazing sound track as well. Your character’s head bops back and forth with the tunes and you will be hard pressed not to do the same!
You play as Rick Rocket who has just finished saving the universe but sadly the awesome and massive destruction he caused in the process has torn a hole in the space time continuum, yeah that thing that Doc Brown always warned us about. You will have to unsave the universe by unfiring all of your shots, lazers, missles, and everything else you did along the course of saving it in the first place. You will be doing all of this to an amazing soundtrack that will keep you wanting to play just to hear more of it!
The gameplay is truly unique, its like watching a side scrolling shootem up in reverse! You will need to position Rick in just the right spot at just the right time to unfire your shots while avoiding the enemy shots at the same time. It’s kind of surreal to watch the gameplay take place in reverse and it takes a second or two to get used to but once you do its quite the experience.
The game offers multiple difficulty settings as well as the option to play the game with either a controller or a guitar controller if you choose to. Since I don’t own any guitar controllers for the PS3 I played the entire game with a normal one and still had fun while doing so. There are multiple shots Rick can fire so unfiring each of them will require different techniques. You can also collect powerups to grant you score multipliers but be careful certain enemy shots if not avoided can steal those multipliers back from you. The game even offers up a neat twist on traditional shootemup boss battles, all played in reverse, and while these battles can become hectic and trying, the game never loses its ability to be fun.
Retro/grade is nothing short of sensory candy overload. It’s bright and extremely crisp graphics may have you taking your eye off the ball from time to time as you try to take in all of the amazing background images as you zoom by them in reverse. Skyler McGlothlin has created a soundtrack that is nothing short of brilliant. The combination of wanting to play the game for its gameplay as well as wanting to hear the next track kept me playing the game for well over an hour straight. For those of your who are leaderboard junkies the game offers up a leaderboard for each track!
The game launches on August 21st on the PSN for the low price of 9.99 and the soundtrack is available on PSN or bandcamp for $7.99. If you simply can’t get enough of the music and love the game they are offering a discounted bundle including both the soundtrack and the game for $14.99.
Summary: Retro/Grade is one of those gems that comes along only every once in awhile and provides a truly unique gaming experience. The backwards shootem up gameplay mixed with a rhythm game is such a clever idea and the execution couldn’t be better. With crisp graphics and an amazing soundtrack that will have you bouncing your head to the beats just like Rick Rocket the game is well worth its price of admission of only $9.99
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