#784 Retro Game Challenge

Posted: 22nd November 2018 by Jeroen in Games
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741st played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: DS
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: indieszero
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games/Xseed Games

I feel I’ve referenced Ultimate NES Remix before, the game that takes old NES games and has you do a Warioware style minigame on a smaller part of it – see how well you do at the challenges and how far you can get.

Retro Game Challenge does a similar thing, but based on retro-like games that were created for this game, with a story surrounding that. Apparently, it’s based on a Japanese TV show – not something that would transfer here, so instead I’ll have to rely on the game itself to explain its premise.

Our Thoughts

I think that presentation came across a bit lackluster to me – a young version of the game’s presenter being excited you’ll play with him so you can head back to your own time – but it creates some nice touches around being able to see old manuals and hints in magazines for these fabricated games. Those matter because the challenges for these games are quite specific, perhaps starting as a simple score attack, but later requiring you to use these secrets to progress.

The first game is a Galaga clone that plays quite close to this genre of shooters. There’s a mini game inbetween that consists of shooting rocks, but it’s somewhat separate from the main gameplay – still dangerous, but it mostly serves as a way to rack up points. It’s quite faithful in style to the old games without outright copying them, which is what works so well. The challenges – clearing a stage or using warps – go up in difficulty until the last require you to clear the game and, well, that’s where it broke down for me.

Rather than letting you go through the next game after a few challenges and leaving a few more for later objectives – perhaps required to beat the game, but not immediate progression – Retro Game Challenge requires you to beat all the challenges before moving to the next game. Which may have some slight merit, but if you can’t do it, well, that’s most of the content of the game gone. After all, I couldn’t beat the first game, so I couldn’t see what else there is on offer. It feels really out of place and poorly balanced at a time when I would have expected the developers to consider the hurdles. While you may aim it at hardcore gamers, I would have hoped the nostalgia factor would be more important.

Final Thoughts

It’s unfortunate this game’s difficulty threw such a spanner in the works as it feels unnecessary – the game would have worked as well and made its point as much without the high difficult. There’s a lot of creativity here to make the game work, but I feel cheated since I never got a chance to really see that.