Game Title: Retro/Grade
Release date: August 21st 2012
Developer/Publisher: 24 Caret Games
Platform Played: PS3
Need a reason to dust off your old Rock Band/Guitar Hero guitar controller? Retro/Grade, the debut release from 24 Caret Games is just the game to reinstate the love of your forgotten friend.
This self-published indie game was three long years in the making but plays like a big name title boasting an amazing soundtrack and sweet graphics along side intuitive gameplay.
Start off as as the victorious Rick Rocket, conquering your foe and saving the universe, when all of a sudden you get sucked through a time rift causing you to reenact his epic space battle – in reverse!
Retro/Grade is a new style of game, surprisingly addictive and unlike any other game I have ever played before, which makes it particularly hard to describe. The game dynamics are smooth and the concept new. Fly through space backwards in time, unfire weapons and de-explode enemies as you make your way through 10 challenging stages within 6 increasing levels of difficulty ranging from beginner to hardcore all while competing for the lowest score on the leaderboards. The visuals in this game are vivid and eye-catching, with background pulsing in synch to the rhythm and flow of the battle songs.
Overall, I found the gameplay of Retro/Grade to be fairly vast and challenging. To start, there are 4 different modes to play with: Campaign, Challenge, Tutorial, and Practice. The tutorial is interactive and set up in such a way that a player only gets instruction on aspects of the game where they demonstrate need. I find this model much superior to the rote repetition that is usually abundant in game tutorials.
In the Campaign mode there are 6 ascending modes of difficulty ranging from beginner to hardcore and within those there are 10 base songs. Depending on the set difficulty, the player will utilize between 2-5 musical lines to “de-create” their chosen battles. Challenge mode is where the game really showed the most promise, taking the same 10 leveled songs and adding twists, such as mirror image scrolling and implemented debuffs, which can completely change the feel of the level. Sprinkled within the challenge map are unlockables such as cheats, jukebox music, and new ships to use.
To play this game at maximum efficiency, I think one must really feel and be involved in the music’s beat. I found that both moment from line to line, avoiding attacks and strumming to collect fire, work best if a steady rhythm is established. If the player looses their rhythm for just a tiny bit it can spell disaster quickly. Good thing there is the option to go forward in time again to fix mistakes (if you have the fuel to do so with, that is).
The controls for this game are fairly simple and straightforward, both for the guitar and hand-held controllers. Honestly, the gameplay style feels quite different depending on which style controller used. I found pros and cons with each style of controller. With the hand-held controller I had to count my movement taps to get to a certain line, so speed was my main concern. With the guitar, accuracy was my big challenge. Having to make sure and push the right color at the right time wasn’t always easy, and if my hand slipped down the bridge at all the battle was over.
Honestly, I had no clue that Retro/Grade was an indie game when I started playing it. All of the game’s components seemed to sync up so well that I just assumed it was a big name title. I loved being able to dust off my old guitar and use it as a controller for such a unique game. I had a great time playing this title and look forward to possible DLC in the future.
Visuals 9 – Stunning and vibrant, lots of interactive little details.
Sound 10 – Engaging and catchy soundtrack.
Controls 10 – intuitive controls, plays equally great on both controller and guitar.
Gameplay 10 – Increasingly difficult and continually challenging gameplay.
Online – N/A
Replay Value 9 – Addicting, with an engaging competitive aspect.
PSN, Retro/Grade, rhythm shooter