Game play - 10
Presentation - 9
Story / Creativity - 9
Lifespan - 9
For people wanting to get a little bit of rhythm gaming back into their life, this is different the game for you. Not only does Retro/Grade honour the ways of the old school shooter, but it is brings something new to the table for people wanting their mix of toe tapping, intergalactic fun with a heavy dip of possibly seizure inducing visuals that will have you flopping on the floor while saying “It was worth it”.
It was only till last night that I noticed 24 Caret Game’s Retro/Grade sat upon the PSN Store.
From first glance the game looked like a rather generic side scrolling shooter, but what came after when actually getting a hands-on with the game is a completely different story.
You play as Rick, a head banging intergalactic space fighter who happens to have just saved the universe from ultimate destruction. As the opening of the first (final) level begins Rick blasts off into space while being greeted by the credits of a surely proud team. Suddenly things take a turn for the worse as Rick is forced into a space time continuum where everything he has gone through is being undone. What follows is transformation from a shooter into a rhythm game that will not only surprise you but also welcome music based gaming back into your life with open arms.
While standard retro shooters see you move east on an ever scrolling screen, Retro/Grade sees you going the complete opposite as you collect all the previously fired shots that Rick seems to have made while travelling through the level. By collecting each reversed shot back into your ship, you constantly build up a score multiplier that cleverly begins to reduce the score you are given at the start (end) of each level. Not only are you collecting Rick’s multi-coloured plasma bullets, but you are also dodging the returning gun fire of the enemy ships that rebuild themselves from your own scripted bullets, the shots you miss from the enemy ships also adds to your multiplier thus creating an unusual two way game of dodge and collect.
The best way to describe it is to picture Guitar Hero but in the appearance of a side scrolling shooter. Depending on the difficulty you choose you will be given a number of lanes to move up and down on which present the different coloured bullets that are returning to your neon rainbow ship. Getting hit by enemy fire or missing returned bullets will actually reduce your health though instead of just affecting some kind of score rating, which means that there is a subtle nod of the classic retro shooter structure in its design.
Not only is the gameplay great but the visual glamour is also something to behold. A lot of love and attention was put into this little retro world and you can tell the developers have a deep love for the old shooter classics like R-Type and Gradius. Everything in this game is bursting with colour, so much that you may even sometimes get distracted by all the happenings on screen just to see what is going on in the background. The music is also an incredible treat to listen to. I think I was bobbing my head along with Rick for nearly the entirety of the game’s length. The entire track list has such a nostalgic feel to it and I was surprised to have such a warm smile on myself throughout the entire experience. While the campaign is short but bursting in replay value, you can always take a dip into Retro/Grade’s challenge mode which rips at the seams with over 100 challenges to take part in.
Retro/Grade is available now on the Playstation Network Store via the Playstation 3.
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