Retro/Grade is an insane mix of lane shooters, reverse time travel and Rock Band
Ok, so the game is over? What? What the hell is happening? I just started playing Retro/Grade at PAX Prime 2012 in what is known as the Indie Megabooth. I’ve been handed a guitar controller from Rock Band, my ship on the screen just blew up a huge…something and now the credits are rolling. Huh? But no, something is happening, all of the sudden the credits are rolling backward and I’m watching the battle that just took place in reverse….and now I’m finally playing. This is Retro/Grade and in a sea of games that I could easily call original and eye-catching, this one really stood out as the most fun.
Retro/Grade is pretty simple at face value: you drive a ship through space, fire lasers and rockets and must be on one of the 5 vertical lanes at any given time (my easy demo only used 3). But since everything is in reverse, I’m actually playing to hit those times when I fired my laser in the past. I’m also dodging rockets that were fired from the other direction, but again in reverse. Its pretty wild.
But set all that to a bass-heavy beat and suddenly things start to feel familiar again. This is basically Rock Band in Space! As I see the shots from the past fly close, I need to click one of the buttons that tells my ship which lane to line up in and strum on the guitar. Pretty much the same idea as the iconic track-moving game Guitar Hero. I was impressed to say the least.
Although the game could be played with a regular game controller, what would be the fun in that? This thing was made to be played with a guitar controller and you would be doing yourself a huge disservice to play otherwise. I was entranced with all of the ideas going on here: A space shooter in reverse time with catchy beats using a guitar controller. Who thinks of this stuff??
What really sold me on the idea was a “rewind” button, which used the whammy bar on the guitar controller. I believe they called it re-rewind, which in the context of the game really just means you’re moving forward in time! I got a good laugh out of that. This a great “noob option” to get out of a jam and get back into the fray.
Retro/Grade is currently available on the PSN for $9.99 and I believe I’ll be picking up a copy here pretty soon. After all, this was only about 10 minutes with the game and I barely scratched the surface of its potential, I would really like to play with it much more.