Retro/Grade – Review
Follow Genre: Music
Developer: 24 Caret Games
Publisher: 24 Caret Games
Platform: PC (Steam)

Retro/Grade – Review

Site Score
Good: Graphics, challenging, original compared to other rhythm games
Bad: Lack of songs, distracting effects, low replay value
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Most of us played one of the many Guitar Heroes or rock bands. Sadly music games started to sell less and less because of the over-amount of releases. The guitar you once played so many times, is now taking some dust or is hidden somewhere in one of your closets. Retro/Grade wants you to find that guitar, blow off the dust and start playing again. This time you won’t fly above a single track. No. This time you’ll be playing a rhythmic, 2D side scrolling shooter. In reverse!


There are two main modes: Campaign and Challenge. In Campaign, you’ll play Rick Rocket, a pilot who wants to stop an alien invasion. The game starts right where Rick defeats Exnorian Armada, his final enemy. This results in a massive destruction causing a temporal anomaly reversing the flow of time. Rick has to undo all his actions through 10 levels to save the space.

Challenge, the second mode, consists out of 130 challenges. In each challenge you’ll play one of the 10 levels of the Campaign, but with twists on the rules and objectives. Sometimes the songs will be faster, sometimes slower. Other times you aren’t allowed to miss a single shot or you’ll play the level while some disco lights are distracting you.

This game looks beautiful, especially when you turn on the “overthruster”, the alternative for star power in Guitar Hero. Pity you won’t see so much of all that beauty, since you’ll have to focus too much on the shots you have to undo. But all this beauty takes its price. Everything is so shiny and there are so many effects that it has his negative influence on the gameplay. Sometimes you’ll miss some shots simply because you couldn’t see them through all the effects. Overdoing is never a good idea…


The most important part of a rhythm game is of course the amount and the quality of the songs. The quality of these songs is dubious, since all songs belong to the genre trance/electro. Some people will love it, others will hate it. The real problem is the amount of them. 10 songs are simply not enough for a game like this. Even worse is that most of these 10 songs sound the same. This makes the songs a bit too repetitive.

The goal of each level is, while flying backwards, to undo every shot Rick did and in the meantime avoid shots done by the aliens. You can complete this goal by playing the game with a keyboard, but we would advice to use the guitar if you have one. This game is clearly not designed to play with a keyboard, since you might even struggle to finish the game on the easier difficulties. Once you plug in the guitar, the real potential of the game shows up.

The early difficulties are very easy (when you use the guitar), but the later difficulties are a lot more interesting. During the first levels on these harder difficulties, you’ll need to get used to stop focusing solely on the shots you fired (and which you need to play on the guitar). In Retro/Grade you also need to avoid shots fired by aliens by moving your spaceship to safe lanes. Most of the times, these movements won’t be on the rhythm of the music. This is different from other music games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band where the music-based nodes are the only ones you need to hit. This makes the levels a lot more challenging, and it gives this game its own personality.


Like mentioned in the graphics section, the overdose of special effects might make the levels a little more difficult than they are supposed to be, since you won’t see some of the nodes on time. To complete the levels on the higher difficulties  you’ll need to memorize some parts of the song to avoid these problems. Some people will like this and see it as a challenge, but others might see this as a big issue.

Even when the gameplay is pretty fun and challenging, the low number of songs make the game too repetitive, especially the Challenge mode. 130 challenges which will make you play every song about 13 times. That’s just a little bit too much to keep you interested in the game for a long time.

Retro/Grade is a fun, challenging and good looking game, but only for a while. Playing the 10 levels of the Campaign for the first time is awesome. But playing the same songs in the challenges over and over again becomes boring. With some more songs and some more variation in genres, this game would’ve had a way higher replay value, resulting in a higher score. But we can still hope for some DLC with extra songs right?


VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Retro/Grade - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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