An independent developer, 24 Caret, has brought in an interesting and unique game to the Playstation called Retro/Grade. At first glance, it may seem like a spaceship shooter. But that’s just part of the story. When you start the game off, it also belongs to the rhythm genre, much like Guitar Heroes and Dance Dance Revolution. However, that’s not all. There’s also another twist to it. All throughout Retro/Grade, the gameplay is going in reverse! Packed with explosions and projectiles, this game will have you going backwards with action and excitement.
Retro/Grade commences with you facing the final boss. Once you defeat it, the game moves on to the credit rolling. At first, it may be confusing since it didn’t take too long to finish the game at all. However, all of a sudden, a wormhole appears and starts to absorb and suck in everything in sight. This then results in the game moving and functioning backwards.
At this point, your objective is to move your spaceship and shooting based on the beat of the music. Specifically, you want to move it in a way so that it ends up in the spot in which it fired its projectile. These shots are placed in a manner that will have you move and shoot according to the music’s beat.
To illustrate, once you line up the shots with your spaceship, you’ll need to press the needed face button in order to absorb them. If you happen to press the button perfectly with the beat, you’ll receive more points, which actually reduces your score because, remember, the game is going in reverse. So you want to reach to zero points in the end as fast as you can. You’ll also want to avoid any projectiles from enemies. But these will be coming from the back of your spaceship. So you have to be on the look-out in both directions.
However, if you mess up during the reverse shooting, as in you were off-beat when pressing the corresponding button or you happen to get shot by enemy fire, the health bar depletes, which screws up the space-time continuum thereby leading to the eventual game over. Thankfully, you’ll encounter power-ups that will allow you to you rewind time (or is that fast forward) to correct your mistakes. There are also others that will help to max out your score.
Although there are 10 levels and 130 challenges to face, the game does feel familiar and perhaps even repetitive in time. Even if you play in the other 6 available modes, it doesn’t seem that there’s much variety. However, if you’re looking for a real challenge, then playing at even higher speed with no power-ups showing up may be your cup of tea. In this case, the enjoyment you get out of Retro/Grade depends on how much you want to test your skills even when you complete the game. But if you’re the type of person that moves on to the next game after successful completion without any regards to the high score, then Retro/Grade can be a short-lived experience.
On screen, the game looks mighty impressive with the array of colors and special effects. The graphics are presented effectively with the viewing perspective placed in a slight angle. While Retro/Grade does look pretty with its shiny projectiles and explosions, the real key success to the game is the audio. Specifically, the techno, electronic music is what allows the experience to be both exciting and upbeat. And for every shot fired (or unfired), you get a nice bass effect. Because of the catchy soundtrack and impressive audio, Retro/Grade retains its replay value.
The concept behind this game is peculiar yet interesting. You get a mixture of rhythm and space shooter all in a single package. Therefore, Retro/Grade is not your typical game. While the graphics and music are pretty cool, the limited variety in gameplay may lead to it falling short of some players’ expectations. Nevertheless, be on the lookout as Retro/Grade flies (backwards) to the Playstation Network on August 21, 2012 for $9.99.