Retrocade: DataStream Y2K600

I don’t really get retro gaming.  I can see the appeal in occasionally busting out some childhood favorite and kicking back with it.  But most of the time I do that, the session ends with me blurting out “how could I ever think this was any good?”  There’s a segment of developers, both large and small, who try to recapture the look and feel of those dinosauric games thirty or more years later.

Whether this works or not usually depends on what style they’re aping.  For example, Mega Man 9 was successful because it tried to capture the essence of Mega Man 2 or Mega Man 3, aka the only halfway decent entries in that entire series and fuck anyone who disagrees with that.

Did Mega Man 9 work?  Was it still fun?  Yes, it was.  For about five minutes.  Then you likely remembered that we’re now in the future and games have been continuously getting better for the last twenty years.  Why would I spend $10 for it when I can buy a modern game in a clearance bin for the same price?

Nostalgia can be lucrative but it rarely holds up for extended play sessions.  So when MasterBlud recommended Retrocade: DataStream Y2K600 to me, I thought “wow, that’s a terrible name for a game.”  And then I thought “oh goody, an original game in the year 2011 with gameplay and graphics from the year 1976.  How keen.”

Actually, calling it “original” might be  a bit of a stretch.  Retrocade is basically a takeoff on Frogger, even going so far as to have one of its five modes be a clone of it.  The other four modes are pretty much the same.  You control a stick who has to hop around and collect other sticks.  The graphics are straight out of the Atari 2600, which I’m told is a system that required players to use their imagination.  I have absolutely zero imagination, so all I could do was pretend my stick that was picking up other sticks was actually a stick picking up other sticks in a better game.

To keep it real, there is a little fun here.  The mode that stood out to me the most was “Flow Rider.”  It’s simple: move the stick to the top of the screen and then return to the bottom.  The only difference here is once you move onto the play field, you can’t move left or right.  Once you get to the top, the screen starts to fade out and you have to make sure you have the timing down for the return path.  It offers a good challenge and was not an unworthy waste of a few minutes.  “Waypoint,” which is basically the Retrocade’s time-attack mode, is also worth a look at.  Oddly enough the Frogger mode, known here as “Glitcher,” was actually one of the low points of the set.  It’s just not as good as the original and it has some major issues with collision detection. That said, it actually controls better than the official Live Arcade Frogger port .  Way better, in fact.

Retrocade isn’t a bad game by any means.  But it’s a tough sell in this day and age.  Anyone who wants this type of experience would be better served to just dig out some crusty old childhood favorite and give it another look at.  And even if you want something original, there’s a bazillion games that actually date back to that era and I promise you haven’t played even one-tenth of them.  But if you absolutely, positively insist that it has to be a retro game from the year 2011, knock yourself out.  Party like it’s 1977!  Let’s all do mushrooms and go roller skating!

Retrocade: DataStream Y2K600 was developed by QuimbyRBG

80 Microsoft Points don’t know where we went wrong but the feelings gone and we just can’t get it back in the making of this review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

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