Retro Game Challenge for DS was a game that caught my eye even before Nintendo adopted its format for its Wii U download releases NES Remix and NES Remix 2 (which were later combined into a physical release). The game is based on a TV show from Japan called Game Center CX in which the host tries to beat old-school games. The game's gimmick is that instead of focusing on a full-length game, it includes a set of retro games based on titles like the original Galaga, Ninja Gaiden, and even Dragon Quest games, each with four challenges for you to overcome, such as get 150,000 points. The games are also accessible via a "free play" mode as well for you to play as much as you want.
The format didn't turn out to be that worthwhile, and the games themselves, while very polished, weren't much more fun than the originals that inspired them (although the later, SNES-era-like games feel more fully realized and are more fun). A couple of the games get repeated with only minor variations, and if there's a genre that you don't like, e.g. racing games or RPGs, then you're out of luck as you can't skip past any of the game's challenges. For retro gamers the challenges themselves are not that difficult, and the game makes them easier and less tedious by including a lot of in-game cheat codes, for example, for skipping to a particular level. The game includes these in the form of in-game gaming magazines, and a lot of the enjoyment of the game is how it successfully recreates the feel of being a kid and poring over magazines, reading previews, finding out cool cheat codes, and also hanging out with a friend and gossiping about the latest games (which, of course, his parents just bought him the day it came out while your mom refuses to let you get a new game until your birthday, haha).
Even with the cheat codes, the game does get repetitive both with the games presented, and the challenges. Many of the challenges require you to replay the first parts of the games multiple times, which seems like an artificial means of lengthening the gameplay. Once I finished all the challenges I didn't find any motivation to go back and play any of the games in the free play mode, and similarly I don't think I'll be replaying this game any time soon, as I'd rather play the originals the game is based on. I've already played a bit of NES Remix and I'm similarly skeptical about the format, but we'll have to see if my opinion changes the more I dive into those games.
Bite-sized Retro Game Challenge links:
- The official site for the game is still online
- Review on NintendoLife
- FAQ at GameFAQs
- Entry at wikipedia.org
- Entry at howlongtobeat.com
- Video of the messages that appear after the credits, if you wait long enough