Finally, a reason to power up my Playstation Vita! I like this system, I really do. It has a great screen, great hardware in general, and finally dual analog sticks. There haven’t been any games I’ve purchased for my Vita since launch, until Retro City Rampage. For anyone with a Vita who lived through the 80s, this is a must purchase title.
When I was twelve or thirteen, I had two favorite things; NES games and Saturday morning cartoons. I still remember how excited my brothers and I were when Burger King sold single Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle episodes on VHS for $3. We wore those tapes out, never tiring of blaring the theme song on days other than Saturday. Retro City Rampage gives me the same feeling, like I snuck a piece of 1987 magic into 2012 that I can play whenever I want.
Retro City Rampage is a top down open world driving/shooting adventure that begs comparison to the original Grand Theft Auto. There are two driving control options, and shooting is either assisted lock on or dual stick. The game controls well in all modes, but that isn’t what makes it special. All of the buildings, cars, and characters are lovingly crafted with old school sprites, all of the music is fresh work from great chiptune artists, and the game even includes alternate screen modes like an old computer monitor or an original Gameboy system. This game is a love letter to gaming and life in general in the 80s. I simply lost track of the cultural references from that decade, whether from video games, movies, music, or TV. Quick example: I’m on a mission from the game’s version of Doc Brown, reassembling the Flux Capacitor. While driving by the Thunder Hats store, I jump out of KITT from Knight Rider and steal Peewee Herman’s bike. The game also has many special stages patterned after classic Nintendo NES era games.
All of the pop culture nods and game modes are great, but fortunately the game is fun to play as well. I often play for 10-15 minutes, completing just a few missions, and have a great experience.
Tight controls, short fun missions, a colorful and humorous world, retro-nostalgic sprites and chip-tunes combine to give the player great bursts of pick up and play fun.
Retro City Rampage is available on Wii, Xbox, PC, and Playstation 3, but the sprites look great on a smaller screen, and the quick play sessions make it easy for me to recommend the Vita version. It should be noted that this is one of Sony’s first crossbuy titles, which means if you buy either the Vita or Playstation versions, you get the other version free as well, and you can move game saves between versions! No matter what platform you decide to play Retro City Rampage on, you are in for a great time, especially if you remember the 80s with fondness.