Retro/Grade is a pretty decent retro-style rhythm game with lots of charm. Since the game lacks modes, I wasn’t particularly sure if it would be something I would enjoy. But after spending time with it, it grew on me. The game itself has bright graphics, which make it look visually appealing, and the challenge mode, unlike a lot of games this generation, is pretty challenging. The price is perfect for the content you get. If you’re a plus member, it is free to download, this is another good thing for plus, as this is a nice addition.
The game is based off classic retro two-dimensional space shooters but with a rhythm-based twist. The presentation and sound will bring back memories of old retro titles such as Gradius and R-Type. Though lacking co-op or multiplayer, there is a fully functioning online score board system.
There is a decently sized campaign in which you start off defeating the final boss. As you watch the credits roll, thinking you just beat the shortest game in existence, you then find out why this game is so unique: you must back track your progress through the universe and reverse the damage you caused. This brings in a lot of interesting possibilities which are nicely pulled off in this game. Instead of aiming for high scores, you are trying to get a low score.
The game is quite difficult and takes a while to master. If you do find yourself struggling to get past certain points, you have the ability to use Retro/Grade, a substance which allows you to reverse time for a certain amount, so you can redo certain bits that you messed up, which includes when and if you get the game over screen. Though to get it back you need to get the refills from the bonus points that fly towards you, but this can be tricky and does not always mean you get retro/grade. Though, you will get nice helpful extras like bonus multipliers or a bonus score decrease, retro/grade really helps when things get crazy and you need to keep an eye on the entire screen.
There is also a challenge mode which allows you to do bonus missions that unlocks extra content like new ships or cheats which will aid you in this difficult game. You can also go on to the training mode in which you have unlimited Retro/Grade when you have a made a mistake. Some of the challenges involve going through stages in reverse, not making a mistake, and even playing with disco lighting. As you continue on with the challenge mode, you understand that this game is not that repetitive, as the challenges add different themes and makes the game feel quite extended. Plus, these will take you a long time to complete. It also rewards you for replaying missions that you did not get a high rank in, as some missions branch off into alternative routes depending on how well you score.
The game has a very simplistic graphical style that is represented very well with nice effects and very detailed backgrounds with nice silky smooth frame rate, though at times it can be very frantic at points and it is hard to keep track on everything. The soundtrack is very fast paced. There is not really a bad track in the game. As soon as you load up the first level, you will be hit with nostalgia of the old days, remembering the fact that modern game music does not seem to have the simple charm it used to have.
This game is incredible for the small price it costs of $7.99. You can buy a bundle with the game and soundtrack for $14.99 which is a pretty good deal if you like the old style music. The game will take you ages to complete and has a decent amount of replay value as you try to beat your old low score. Also, if you struggle with the DualShock 3 method you can use one of your old guitar hero controllers. The guitar controller makes it a little bit easier, because you don’t need to move your ship up and down in time.
In conclusion, this is probably one of my favourite PSN titles to hit the store this year. Though lacking a few modes, the options it does have are chock full of content, which will make you want to play it. Plus, it has good “pick up and play” value when you only have a few minutes spare.
Also if you’re a PlayStation Plus member it is free to download!
-The Final Word-
A clever twist on rhythm-style games featuring all that the retro scene has to offer.