Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Retrograde

Review: Retro/Grade

2:00 PM on 08.20.2012 // Allistair Pinsof
  @DtoidAllistair

Dancing, playing guitar, piloting a ship through alien gunfire, etc. Sometimes you just need to put a little faith into rhythm if you want to succeed.

I have a love for both shoot-em-ups and rhythm games. While they occupy different spectra of a player's skill set, both genres share some things in common. Once you lock into the pattern presented to you, it's easy to get lost in the rhythm of combat or the more literal rhythm of a beat.

Retro/Grade is an ingenious rhythm game that blurs the line between these two genres, demanding players to rely on their sight as much as their sense of rhythm. As long as you have one, you can get by without the other, but you're going to need both if you want to place high on the leaderboards in this original debut from 24 Caret Games.

Retro/Grade (PlayStation Network)
Developer: 24 Caret Games
Publisher: 24 Caret Games
Released: August 21, 2012
MSRP: $9.99

Retro/Grade may be a slight and brief rhythm title, but it's a very clever one that will leave you smiling as you make your way through its ten levels. The game starts with the obligatory tutorial sequence, but this familiar scenario is oddly paired with the game's end credits. After pilot/slacker Rick Rocket defeats the game's final boss, a space anomaly reverses the flow of time. The following 90 minutes is a long trek back to the start of Rick's journey, and along the way, he needs to absorb every bullet he fired and once again dodge every enemy.

Mind-bending -- that's the word that best summarizes Retro/Grade. It's at its best when you stop thinking about what you are doing and just give in to the rhythm. Forgoing the stilted presentation of most other rhythm games, the visuals are always busy and unique to the stage, as are the music tracks that sound like a cross between '80s Depeche Mode and audio from Amiga games. It's not a soundtrack I'd listen to on my iPod -- in fact, I got so sick of it that I was turned off from replaying stages -- but it has its charms and pairs wonderfully with the retro sci-fi aesthetic and backgrounds that complement the songs.

As eye-catching as the backdrops are, you'll be too busy trying to survive to fully appreciate them. There is a lot going on in Retro/Grade, but it thankfully takes its time unveiling new enemy types. Like Rock Band and so many other rhythm games, you play notes (read: absorb laser fire) on tracks that you navigate through via your ship. You can even play with a guitar peripheral -- I haven't tried this out, but I imagine your ship must automatically shift tracks as you play the notes. Depending on what difficulty you play, you will have two to five lanes to switch between.

The laser fire always lines up with the beat, but you'll also have to rely on your hand-eye coordination when it comes to dodging walls of bullets and enemy mines from behind. Tapping the button to fire is simple enough, but you'll eventually have to rapidly press to absorb missiles, dodge black holes, and trace long lasers across multiple tracks. If you do well, you'll be rewarded with score multipliers and an oscillator that makes your score go up while turning the background into a psychedelic field that's easy to get lost in. If you don't do well, you can use fuel which reverses time, though you are penalized for his when you receive your "new low score" at the end of the stage.

Once you beat the main mode, you can play again on Extreme difficulty or jump into Challenge mode. Extreme difficulty is just not fun. I love a challenge but only when it's a well designed one. Instead of testing your ability to keep up with complex rhythms and timing, this difficulty keeps you busy by forcing you to constantly change tracks, and I do mean constantly!

Challenge mode, on the other hand, is just too damn easy to be all that engaging. It takes place on a Star Fox-like mission grid, where you progress forward by beating levels from the main mode in altered form. Some missions will present the stage at 120% speed while others present mirrored versions. It's an interesting idea, but given the length of these stages and the repetitive music, it gets old fast. It also takes a long time to get challenging, since you start on Easy and work your way up. The mode may be worth it for some players, since you unlock ships (including a Minecraft-inspired one) and artwork.

If you are a rhythm game fanatic, you owe it to yourself to check out Retro/Grade. It doesn't have the charm of PaRappa, the hummable tracklist of Gitaroo Man, or the addictive quality of Elite Beat Agents, but it's a nice shot in the arm for a genre that has grown stagnant. 24 Caret Games tried its best to give the game some longevity, but that's never been what this genre is about. It's about becoming transfixed and lost somewhere between the music and game, and Retro/Grade does a fine job of achieving this.



THE VERDICT

7.5

Retrograde - Reviewed by Allistair Pinsof
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Allistair Pinsof,
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidAllistair

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Retrograde


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Understanding How Street Fighter is Played

Cblogs of 2/05/16 + Digital Preservation

Music Notes: "Tied Down" by Forever Still

Desert Golfing - The Model Mobile Game

Review: Pony Island

Do you even Bebop?

Cblogs of 02/04/16 + Bayonetta and some other one I suppose

Waifu Wars: Your Cruel Device, Your Blood Like Ice..

Best Kickstarter implosion EVER as dev money is spent on booze and strippers

Video Gaming Bits -- Dungeons& Dragons: Tower of Doom

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Weird brutal death metal song about Majora's Mask (Reminds me of Gorguts)! My life is complete! Lyrics in comments. https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/track/tales-of-the-majora-mythos-part-1
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I SWEAR the Goddess is trolling me. I HATE having dreams where everything's finally okay with my life, only to wake up and realize it's all been a delusional lie. I'm starting to think this is a sign that maybe I should just keep sleeping forever... T^T
jak2364 avatarjak2364
It's taking every ounce of power within me to act like a responsible adult and save for this instead of using a credit card to get it now. http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VRCLHYS/ Everyone, tell me bad things about it.
gajknight avatargajknight
My cat touched my dick.
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
Oh boy, extra damage weren't Ike's only buffs this patch. They also made his n-air combo better, made his Fsmash better (sourspot damage and angle buffs) and increased the range of his f-air. Ike may be tied with Sheik for best f-air in the game now. :D
Voodoome avatarVoodoome
What's your guys thoughts on repros? I ran into these a couple years ago at a con and I just couldn't resist. I know there are some repro makers out there that reproduce official US releases, and that's wrong, but if a game was never released here?
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
There's people who defend WB putting season passes in LEGO games. Real talk for a sec, there is literally no reason a season pass should even exist, let alone in a LEGO game of all things. Preordering DLC is pointless. I'm saltier than I need to be.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Remember the Xenogears combat system? That was really fun. They should bring that back.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope Bloodborne goes down to $20 again, very tempted to get it. I've been using my Playstations a lot lately and want to continue doing that
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, one of the artists for SMT4, Yasushi Nirasawa, passed away very recently. Quite the shame, as his work was interesting.
Gameroo avatarGameroo
Drive Any Track is wild, wild fun. Surprised I only came across it because of the steam sale, I thought I'd have at least heard something about it earlier. Can't wait to see how it progresses!
Heat avatarHeat
Quick thoughts about my first hours of XCOM 2: The new Sectoid is a bastard, Shen's daughter looks like she escape from Life is Strange, Tygan has a really cool necktie (i love neckties) and officer Bradford need a drink... a strong one. And a a hug.
Browarr avatarBrowarr
Quality music over there: http://jetsetradio.live/
Titannel avatarTitannel
In between work and, uh, work, I've been buying PS Vita games. Not playing them. Buying them. There are a whole lotta obscure games on the Vita. And a lot of them involve either dating anime boys or underage girls doing decidedly non-underage-girl things.
Browarr avatarBrowarr
JET SET RADIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
TheKodu avatarTheKodu
Still better than Aliens Colonial Marines.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
The good news: XCOM 2 is installed on my pc. The bad news: It runs about as well as a fat kid on ice.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Get your Devil's Third, here! Hot, fresh Devil's third! [url]http://www.gamestop.com/wii-u/games/devils-third/118963[/url]
EAPidgeon avatarEAPidgeon
Glad I can support the site again with HUGE since my life is mostly back in order. Curious though if anyone knows what happened to the Merch Shop for the site.
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Give me an open-world game and I'll find a way to mistreat children and the elderly.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -