GP Retro Review

GP Retro Review

Jul 19, 2013

GP Retro is a racing game that isn’t scared to rock looks of old, and I suspect it is aware of my abject weakness for titles that bring back the wonderful things of days gone by.

The game comes at us in glorious 2D, and in this one, retro is no misnomer. The chunky pixels underscore the jittery unsure animations that make these type of games fun to look at. The purposely un-sharp colors were done well, and even the intro pages for the drivers were nicely formatted to fit with the retro look.

As for gameplay, it is basically top-down view simulated Grand Prix open-wheel (to start) racing over mostly asymmetrical raceways. Sharp turns characterize the racing; losing control and ending up on grass slows down the race car considerably. There are valuables and power-ups to be collected, as well as hazards to be avoided. gp1

I found the controls a bit hard to “get” at first, and I liked this; it means, to me, that the game needs to be mastered. I loved the fact that the developer gives several steering options, including tilting and use of a joystick. It took a while to be truly competitive in the game, but practice does make perfect, and it’s almost unfair to gripe about something that actually adds to the challenge of the game.

There are plenty of tracks, and several un-lockable characters to compete with, some real, and some weirdly mystical, and this all fits in the retro feel of the game. There are different cars (an ice cream truck, people), and I like the multiple racing modes; one can race in longer, custom races, against specific racers or a time countdown event.

No matter how far we go in our racing lives, there will always be a place for arcade-ish games like GP Retro. It packs in a good amount of old school goodness, and is a phenomenal time waster.

iBomber Review

iBomber Review

Apr 29, 2013

As far as iOS games go, iBomber had always been one of the more coveted titles for me. Well, the Android version just dropped, so there.

Once the most rabid Android nationalist gets beyond the iMoniker, they are likely to find an interesting WWII-themed game that proves to be challenging and rewarding at the same time.

The name somewhat takes care of the mystery; I served as a bombardier on a WWII Allied bomber, with plenty of missions to accomplish. The top-down action looked realistic enough to someone like me who never graced the bomb bay of even toy planes. Using radar and bomb sights, I had to destroy a lot of stuff on the move. Controls were ultra-simple: tilting mostly, and a few touches to catch bonuses.ibomber1

It took me a few runs to get used to the movements. I was able to move quite well, in fact; it was moving and hitting targets that was not easily done. After figuring out how to adjust airspeed by tilting back, my accuracy increased. To make the bombs count, accuracy was needed. I liked that the game had finite missions that were mostly logical, like keeping cargo ships from leaving the bay, destroying fuel supplies, or a flotilla-themed form of tower defense. There were also plenty of anti-plane mechanized weaponry around, which meant that I couldn’t tarry too long in the air.

And the damage did come. After going down in a swirling haze of shame a few times, I settled on a strategy of living by power-ups. I learned that if I went quickly over the best defended areas, I could procure power-ups like health and upgraded weapons by tapping the revealed symbol.

I liked the gritty, untouched feel of the graphics, though the inelastic borders of this game drove me batty; it seemed tragically unfinished to me in that singular aspect. The Papaya integration was there, so for fans of that specific social networking community, there’s even more to like.

I thought iBomber is an excellent game that thrusts both WWII buffs and casual gamers into the the same boat headed to glory. Mostly.

Retro Racing Review

Retro Racing Review

Nov 29, 2012

Retro Racing is top-down 2D racing at its finest. Created by Jamie Woodhouse, who worked on Psygnosis’ Nitro and ATR for the Amiga, this is a new game in the style of those. Players race against up to 7 other cars, and along the way improve their vehicle mid-race with power-up icons. They can improve top speed, tire grip, acceleration, and provide a nitro boost. These are key to success, as the other cars are fighting for these powerups too. As well, some alternate paths may slow down the player, but may provide valuable upgrades.

The Android release is freemium, with the first two tracks and three cars available for free, and IAP used to unlock the rest of the game and the last three cars, which all have better starting stats. However, these only make a slight difference in gameplay, considering that powerups make a huge difference; after all, when 5 or 6 speedups are being collected, having one or two at the beginning won’t help too much. However, these cars definitely are a great way to get a head start on the opposition. Those with multiple devices should note that the game will sync the unlock of IAP across devices, which is extremely handy. The game plays extremely well on the Nexus 7 especially.

My complaint with Retro Racing is the visual style is somewhat monotonous; the 12 tracks tend to blend together. As well, the game uses the same tracks from the original iOS release – I’d love to see some new courses to play on!

Really, Retro Racing is a jolly affair: it takes a basic premise of top-down racing, and executes it extremely well. Fans of retro gaming are definitely encouraged to check this one out: it’s got plenty to offer in terms of nostalgic fun, while remaining balanced for the 21st century.