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 moderators, 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.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

El Dango avatarEl Dango
I'm Mr. Cool Ice, and you are too. No... he's the two of us together.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
You all need to quit dropping the f-bomb so much. #fart
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm ashamed of you all.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
I keep forgetting that today is Saturday. I almost never have a Saturday off so it feels like a week day to me 8/
El Dango avatarEl Dango
I see a lot of people texting at the gym. Seems like a bad idea to bring your phone to a place full of heavy objects.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
♪You've gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to blame them, know when to walk away, know when to run ♪#fart
nanashi avatarnanashi
PStoid #30 records today, you still have a little time to ask questions!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I can now play the first 20 measures of Little Trinketry at full speed. It ends when you start playing chords with the right hand. Also something about carts #passdatgas [youtube]http://youtu.be/40fulS_olU8[/youtube]
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
According to fart scientists, the rate of intestinal gas escaping through the anus increases when regular sleep patterns are not observed.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
I farted a lot during Mad Max Fury Road. I blamed them on the engines.
Dreggsao avatarDreggsao
A fart says more than a thousand words.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
A fart a day keeps the doctor away.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why can't we have more Lovecraftian horror games? It's such a great setting, but nobody ever uses it.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Best purchase I've made in a long time. This little remote controlled BB-8 robot by Sphero is amazing. [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/bb8%202.jpg~original[/IMG]
gajknight avatargajknight
I fart, therefore I am.
extatix avatarextatix
Working on my next collection blog and holy shit, I should sell some stuff already.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
My first word was "fart".
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Philosophical question: if the only way to get Batman: Arkham Knight to run decently on my laptop is to lower all the settings and have it run windowed, am I really playing it?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I'm farting right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I farted in Gamestop today and wasn't blamed!
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
Retrograde


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



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 -