As a rhythm game, Retro/Grade takes a lot if inspiration from Guitar Hero: The play field is divided in up to 5 color-coded lanes that you can move between to hit beats, you're overdrive power-up works a lot like Guitar Hero's Star Power, you gain a score multiplier by performing well, etc. However, Retro/grade is more than a simple clone, and throws in a lot of it's own ideas.
|Despite appearances, this is not a shooter|
On top of un-shooting shots, which works like a typical game of guitar hero, you also have to dodge attacks that are being un-shot by your enemies. There's actually a few different attacks and some stages have their own special gimmicks, such as large walls of bullets that leave only a single hole to slip through. Finally, you have a limited ability to (un?)rewind time, moving the game backwards (forwards?) a few seconds to undo mistakes.
|Overdrive acts like Star power, giving you a score bonus for several seconds.|
Unfortunately, having only an hour of music does put a limit on the games content. There's only 10 stages to play through and obviously, you'll be beating them in about an hour. Those used to the massive 50+ song set lists of big budget rhythm games will be disappointed. Fortunately, while there's not many stages 24 Caret has done a good job of making the most of what it has. Each stage has multiple difficulty levels to encourage multiple playthroughs, and with end of song stats and leaderboards for each song, those seeking to master the game will get plenty of playtime as they aim for that perfect run.
|A view of Retro/Grade's Challenge Map.|
Finally, the game can be played with a guitar hero controller and has a "rhythm" control style for doing just that. Unfortunately I was't able to test this personally as I do not have a guitar controller that will work on my PC. For those who don't have a guitar controller, there's a "shooter" control style that I used with a gamepad, and the game plays just fine with it, you do not need a guitar to enjoy this game.
|Each level ends with a list of stats and a raking.|
Retro/grade was developed by 24 Caret Games. It is available on steam or a steam copy, along with a DRM-free download is available directly form the developers here. Retro/Grade's homepage is available here.