Retro Game Challenge is a title like no other: it’s is a mini-game collection that is worth playing for more than 5 minutes, it’s a trip down memory lane, and it’s a reminder of the past and just how far we have come. Of course, the real question is whether or not Retro Game Challenge is worth buying. Read on to find the answer.
I had no real idea what I was getting myself into when I first booted up Retro Game Challenge. I knew that it contained several odes to classic games. I knew it had a crazy story and a made up in game magazine featuring tributes to some of my favorite journalists. I knew it was loosely based off some Japanese TV show. That was it. It was probably more than what you know, but either way I was not entirely sure what I was about to experience.
Retro Game Challenge is made up of eight tributes to classic games. Unfortunately, two of those eight are almost identical to two other of the games. One is a sequel, which adds new levels with a much harder difficulty, but it is still essentially the same thing. The other is a special edition sponsored by the in game magazine and a ramen company in the vein of the Gradius Archimedes Hen and All-Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. While they are both fun games, they are just retreads of the original versions you already played.
The eight games are all fun to play through. Cosmic Gate is a tribute to Galaga. Robot Ninja Haggle-man and Robot Ninja Haggle-man 2 is a tribute to Ninja Jajamaru Kun, which was never released here until the Virtual Console. Rally King is a tribute to both Road Fighter and MotoRace USA. Star Prince is a tribute to Star Soldier. Gaudia Quest is a tribute to Dragon Quest. Robot Ninja Haggle-man 3 is a tribute to Ninja Gaiden. At first I was befuddled at why these games were tributes and not the actual game, then it dawned on me, these games are completely new experiences. Countless collections have been released before and here were eight new games for me to play.
Each of these games are fantastic. When I unlocked the next game I immediately was flooded with nostalgia. Even the games that I had never played the game being attributed had some sort reference to games of that time. Robot Ninja Haggle-man was completely foreign gameplay wise, but its plot was very referential to Megaman. These references were in every game and added to the enjoyment. To the credit of Retro Game Challenge, even without all the extra in game references, the game still would be oozing with nostalgia and actual great gameplay.
At first I was compelled to complete the challenges, which are not that difficult, just out of sheer curiosity of what would come next. About half way through the game, that desire to rush through to see what is next was replaced by pure enjoyment of playing these ‘retro’ games. I had forgotten how great the classics were. The simplistic nature of these games made them perfect for the DS. They were great to pick up and play while moving about, yet just as the games on which they are based, are also great to sit down and play for long periods of time.
While the game part of Retro Game Challenge was great, what brought me the most enjoyment was the culture weaved throughout. At its simplest form it was simply chatting with the Game Master’s (the person who sends you back to the 80s to complete the challenges) child self. The most complex form was the in game video game magazine, Gamefan Monthly. A new issue would unlock upon completing two challenges. Every time an issue would unlock I would read it ‘cover to cover.’ I loved the callbacks to articles and editors of old, it made me giddy every time. I even read each game’s manual, which is done in the style of old when manuals contained more than a sentence on plot and a control diagram.
I loved every second of Retro Game Challenge. I was high off of nostalgia and pure fun. This is by far one of the best DS games I have ever played. I pray that it gets enough sales so that the sequel can find its way to our shores. I cannot wait to go back and find all the secrets and references hidden throughout each of the games. Retro Game Challenge will remain close at hand in the coming months.
Everything about it oozes with nostalgia
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Great games, yet two of them are almost clones of other games
Fits in perfectly with the classic feel
Enough hidden references to give a little more incentive then normal
A fantastic addition to the DS library and an amazing trip down memory lane.