Retro/Grade is 2012 downloadable indie space-shooter/rhythm-game, originally released for the PlayStation 3, and later the following year for PC through the Steam platform. In Retro/Grade the player assumes the role of Rick Rocket, a spaceship captain who single-handedly defeated an entire alien armada. Rick is about to be awarded with a kiss from the Space Princess when all of the sudden a temporal anomaly occurs: the destruction Rick caused in his adventures was of such a magnitude that it damaged the space time continuum. Rick Rocket must then go back in time in order to undo these actions and restore balance to the cosmos.
Retro/Grade is a rhythm game, with a sci-fi twist in its central premise. The main character, Rick Rocket is moving back through time, trying to undo the damage he caused along his adventure. This means that the whole game is played like a cassette tape being rewound, so in the game Rick Rocket appears to receive his own shots as they come at him, while dodging enemy bullets coming from behind - as the action is all in reverse, and rhythmically synchronized with each level's soundtrack. "Un-firing" one of Rick's bullets corresponds to hitting a note, and failing to do so, or failing to dodge an enemy bullet, results in a penalty. In essence the player is reliving events as they happened by going backwards in time. If the player fails to act out events as they truly happened, flawlessly, then the player will be penalized, as it would impact the fabric of time.
In other terms, there's a paradox-unaware sci-fi/time-travel context laid upon popular rhythm-game gameplay. The bullets that the protagonist's ship "receives" will match notes and rhythms, and enemy bullets act as additional obstacles. It's not entirely dissimilar from the style of rhythm-game popularized by Audiosurf.
Rick travels in colored lanes associated with the colored frets on Rock Band/Guitar Hero guitar controllers, and the player must strum the control as Rick's bullets enter his ship (where "strumming" would be the point in time when Rick Rocket fired said bullet), synchronized to an original techno soundtrack. The player must also dodge enemy bullets that are moving from behind Rick Rocket, back into the enemy ships.
Whenever the player fails to fire a bullet at the right time, or fails to dodge enemy fire, the space time continuum is damaged, since Rick is re-doing something that supposedly never happened. You can measure the "health" of the space time continuum through a meter, much like the Rock Meter in Guitar Hero, on the upper left corner of your screen. It is divided in green, yellow and red. If you fail you'll get closer to red, if you hit you'll get closer to the green area. You also have the ability to go back in time, which in this case means to go forward in time, to correct your mistakes. This takes up energy though, which can be measured by a gauge below the space continuum meter.
- OS: Windows XP SP2, Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8
- Processor: 2.0+ GHz or better (dual core recommended)
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA 8000 series
- DirectX®: 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 300 MB HD space
- Sound: Windows compatible