Friday, July 11, 2014

Indie Impression - Retrobooster


Available Now on Steam

Developed by Really Slick


There are games that cash-in on our nostalgic values and harken back to the 8 or 16-bit era without changing or adding much at all, in a way that just makes some content with taking a trip down memory lane.

Then there are games that turn that nostalgia upside-down on it's head, taking the retro formula and bending it into an intense and cutting-edge new experience. Retrobooster falls into this second category, taking the familiar space shoot'emup concept and injecting it with refined and stylish modern flair.

Retrobooster sports some impressive set pieces

Most noticeable early on in the players' journey is the very responsive control of your ships main thrusters. Reminiscent of classics as far back as Asteroids all the way up to more recent space shooters such as Sub-Space or Continuum is the full 360° control as well as precise propelling forward and backwards.

 Getting a hang of the super sensitive and extremely spot-on controls of your individual thrusters is as imperative as it is fun, given that overshooting your propulsion will end in the humiliation of smashing your ship into pieces against the rocky surface of the terrain below. It takes a bit of practice and some determination but the better you get the smoother things feel, and the quicker you'll be powering your way through levels.

Retrobooster is a game of skill, reflexes, brain power, and top-notch hand-eye coordination. The speed is set to overdrive and the only limit is your ability to master the maneuvering of your ship.

The game boasts some of the most impressive and engrossing visuals I've seen for any title in the genre, with the wonderfully detailed lighting and particle effects giving a realistic look to the dust flying up from nearby rocks, the exhaust from your individual thrusters, and the flames of burning enemies all powered by very convincing physics.

The visual effects provide some serious eye candy.

 The puzzles, an element rarely seen in these sort of games, are actually enjoyable and very engaging even for those like myself who aren't too great at them, which really took me by surprise. They don't feel tedious or overly complex, giving a lot of breathing room for how players approach each solution.

They require not just logic solving skills but the addition of quick reflexes and coordinated shooting in order to pass each cleverly constructed obstacle. This makes figuring out solutions challenging yet appealing and accessible to all levels and class of skill.

Many levels will require some real brain power to navigate.

With elements in bullet-hell style shooter action, tricky physics evading cave exploration, the sometimes brain-wracking yet clever and engaging puzzles, Retrobooster is the kind of space shooter any action fan can easily become hooked into.

It's insanely hard at times in classic retro fashion, but the controls and laser guiding system are intuitive and provide a robust learning curve which give it that edge of progression and accessibility that the classics just don't have, giving Retrobooster an addictive and lasting appeal.

Your laser pointer can be used to navigate the more complicated corridors.

The variety of diverse gameplay mechanics is incredible, especially for a shooter. There's a memorable experience to be found for all types of players; from speed running demons, puzzle masterminds, to reflex endowed shmup aficionados who remember the days of 1 credit clearing their favorite arcade games.

Retrobooster has no "pre-fun bullshit", no filler or fluff, no complex systems to learn, hand-hold-y tutorials, or overcomplicated plots. You're thrown right into the thick of things. Just you and your ongoing struggle against gravity, the fear of realistic physics crushing you from all sides, and the terror of watching your human compatriots trampled by a robotic spider in your panic stricken efforts to save them.

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