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August 23, 2012
Retro/Grade - PS3 Review
Release Launch Price Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
Free on PS+
24 Caret Games24 Caret Games1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Retro/Grade is a great music/shooter.
Formed in 2008 by ex-members of High Impact Games, it has been a long wait for the first game to appear from Californian based developer 24 Caret Games. That first title is Retro/Grade which is best described as a rhythm styled shooter with a twist. The storyline, which admittedly isn't too warranted in a game such as this, is as follows...

Rick Rocket has just saved the universe! Unfortunately, the massive destruction he left in his wake has caused a temporal anomaly that has reversed the flow of time. The player must assume control of Rick's spacecraft and fight through the epic space battle... in reverse!

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Visually Retro/Grade is impressive.
Playing Retro/Grade is such a bizarre experience when you start out. It just feels wrong that things are running backwards, but then the beat of the music, the gorgeous visuals and the rhythm gameplay starts to shine and you will soon be hooked. If you're still unsure about the gameplay, think Guitar Hero or Rock Band, but instead of the notes coming down the screen vertically, they come across vertically, but you also need to watch out for enemy fire which will damage you ship. Naturally the game has multipliers for your score, with the score going in reverse the better you perform. Finally, if you do stuff up the game includes a rewind feature (which actually means you're going forward) so as long as you have the fuel, you can replay sections to perfect the level.

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The final boss, at the start of the game!
One of the most interesting aspects of this title is that it can make use of those dusty old guitar controllers you have lying around the house! In fact on some of the harder difficulty levels the guitar controller actually makes the game a little easier as moving your ship with the D-Pad or Analogue stick can be a little sluggish, especially when there are 5 tracks to move between.

There are quite a few bonuses to unlock in this game which are accessed when you make it through the Challenge modes. These bonuses include Artwork (including Concept Art), new ships including a Minecraft inspired one, and very amusing T-Rex, and the music. Impressively it's not just the ability to play the music, but the developers have even dropped in a DJ styled mixing desk to load up and mix including speeding up or down, fading or scratching each of the songs. Impressive.

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Great visuals, great music, Retro/Grade.
I do, however, think that the developers may have missed an opportunity here a bit too. While it probably would have taken a massive amount of work, why not turn this into a fully-fledged shooter as well. The visuals and the soundtrack are already there, so why not have a "bonus" mode to play the game forwards. Perhaps some DLC in future.

Certainly the most impressive aspect of this game are the visuals. Running at 1080p these not only look great with wonderful effects and a chaotic screen, but run smoothly - essentialy for such a video game. There's even an option to change the delays to ensure you TV isn't introducing lag to put the timing of video and audio out.

One can't talk about Retro/Grade without mentioning the audio - for most this will make or break the game. With a heavy bass/electronic vibe to the soundtrack, composed by Skyler McGlothlin, we absolutely loved the soundtrack in this game with 10 energetic tracks, or one for each of the levels. It must be said that the music and gameplay are perfectly in sync as one would expect from such a title. Natuarlly though, if the electronic genre isn't among your favourites, then you're probably not going to enjoy this game as much.

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One of the bigger boss encounters.
The best news for European Playstation Plus owners is that Retro/Grade has been released absolutely free.That makes this an absolute no-brainer. Get it.

For others in America or without the premium service the low cost of this game (a reasonable $AU15.95 - a bit of a hike over the $US9.99 price sadly) makes it an essential purchase - as long as you don't have a major disliking to bass and techno styled music. Hypnotically brilliant.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSThis is a very polished game with vibrant visuals and solid frame rate.
SOUNDThe electronic music in this game is superb. We love it, but want more.
GAMEPLAYChaotic, fun, engrossing, unique. That's what this game is like..
VALUEReally only 10 levels (and songs), but replayable and multiple difficults. At around $10, or free in Europe for PS+ members still great value.
OVERALLRetro/Grade is a rhythm game, but presented in such a unique, and professional way, that it's definately worth checking out.

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