Published on September 13th, 2012 | by Alex Myers2
Retro/Grade Review – Back in Time
Publisher(s) By: 24 Caret Games
Rated: “E” for Everyone
Release Date: August 21st, 2012
Platform(s): PlayStation 3
2012 has been a strange year for games, one of the major factors in this is that rhythm games are back in full force. As this generations franchises dwindle to an end, fresh ideas in games become harder to find, with developers instead focusing on iterating what they have already done to perfection. PlayStation Network is one of the few platforms where new and unique games can be released frequently to a major market, delivering amazing new rhythm games like Dyad, Sound Shapes, Retro/Grade and Rock Band Blitz all in the second half of this year.
The story of Retro/Grade is certainly a unique one, but like many rhythm games, it is also very minimal part of the experience. You assume the role of Rick Rocket, a top pilot on a mission to complete his epic quest in reverse to save his galaxy from being lost to space. During the tutorial section of the game you finish Mr. Rockets most recent engagement in space’s theater of war, however this results in a rip in the space time continuum that threatens the existence of reality itself. To remedy this you reverse time and play the game in reverse, sucking up the bullets that you originally shot out and dodge enemy fire while building up meter to gain the power to revert times flow to normal to undo mistakes you may make along the way.
The controls are extremely tight in this reverse shoot-em up. It is worth noting that this game actually is completely playable with those plastic guitar accessories, unfortunately those met my garbage cans long ago. Have no fear if you have done the same as the game controls perfectly on a standard gamepad. The enemy fire and your own bullets that you need to suck up are all color coded so a combination of decent reactions and careful planning can get you through any sticky situation. Retro/Grade also features your typical leaderboard set-up for the campaign and challenge modes, but I did not find the high score aspect of the game to be a compelling component of this games features.
Retro/Grade joins the ranks of the few console games that have a native resolution of 1080p and manages to run at a silky smooth 60 frames per second. Not only is the game a technical masterpiece, it is absolutely beautiful as well. From sharp, dazzling effects in menus to gorgeous multi-stage backgrounds. The gorgeous stylings of the game are certainly eye-catching but the most compelling element of this game is undoubtedly the almost one hours worth of original music composed for Retro/Grade.
A common complaint about Retro/Grade has been the length, but for $9.99 I find this combination of fun gameplay, beautiful visuals, and finely tuned original music to be a fantastic value. The main campaign took me about an hour to complete, but the game also features a full challenge mode with 130 unique levels that unlocks art and other, much cooler surprises. Retro/Grade also does the new cutesy thing in indie game development and throws in old friends, don’t be surprised to see characters from Super Meat Boy and Octodad on your screen once again. These last few years have not been kind to games in the rhythm genre and even if you are one of the many that declared the rhythm game genre dead long ago have no fear, it’s back – and better than ever.
Summary: Constantly entertaining visuals, unique original music, and snappy game-play with perfect controls makes this a must buy. Story is a minimal and there is a lack of leaderboards, but Retro/Grade is still extremely worth the purchase.