With many games now a days, the younger generations of gamers are used to games that are more straight to the point and have less substance. Well, with Retro/Grade you get exactly the opposite with a hip Guitar Hero feel because this game is played all in reverse.
In Retro/Grade you play the story of Rick Rocket, who just saved the universe from perilous evil. The player sees the game credits as if everything went the way it should be, but the destruction of the last bad guy has created chaos in the time rift and space; causing everything to go back in time. Rick Rocket must undo every painstaking and expertly calculated attack that he has made in order to make things right again.
24 Caret Games knew what they were doing when they put this game together. They took the slowly dying genre that was home to Guitar Hero and necromanced the hell out of it. Retro/Grade is played from right to left, opposite of what the average gamers are used to. The way that they set this game up is very interesting, leaving you to actually feel as if time is moving in reverse. Everything down to the items on the stage are set up to add to this feeling. Your character is placed in the same position as any other side scrolling shooter, to the left about a few inches from the side of the screen. His position is very key in the game play because it gives you less time to think before something comes towards your character, making the game more difficult.
Whether you’re playing with a guitar or controller the layout is very simple and easy for anyone to pick up. Just like in any guitar game, each row in which you have to maneuver is color coded; making the process simple. In order to collect ammo using the guitar just hit the pick flap at the same time the bullets hit the Ricks ship, and on the controller just hit the designated button. In order to move on the guitar just push the key matching the rows color and using the controller just hit up or down to maneuver.
Even though it may sound like an easy enough game, it really isn’t unless you actually play on easy. There are 10 stages throughout the game, each with a name that gamers can relate to such as “Rick Rollin’”. On each stage there are many obstacles that the player has to work around while still, making them think fast trying to maneuver your way through energy bombs. Difficulty level increases with each stage, as expected, but with each stage comes a tricky situation. An example would be having to dodge energy balls, while collecting ammunition, and fighting a boss who throws two of three arms at you. The energy balls that you have to dodge come in large quantities making you really have to stay on your toes or thumbs; making quick decisions for almost 90 percent of each stage. The game gets pretty complicated over all.
The music played throughout the game is pretty great if you ask me. Each of their songs has a lot of pop, especially considering the fact that every part of each stage reacts with whatever song is playing. As you go through the game you see Rick bobbing his head to the beat of the song with buildings lighting up and down, really putting things together. If you’re a person that is able to catch a beat to a song, this game will be a little easier for you. The ammo that you must collect to survive is all set up on the beat of the song, just like any other rhythm game that you would encounter.
All in all 24 Caret Games did a fantastic job on this. You can tell that a lot of effort was put into this project, and they knew what they wanted to do with this title. I had a lot of fun playing through each level, and I really think that I will continue to play it for a long time to come.