GRIDD: Retroenhanced Is Pretty, But Lacks Depth

5.5
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
2017-07-27

GRIDD: Retroenhanced very clearly wants to be an arcade game. This is evident in how the game plays, how it looks and how many features there are. That is to say, the gameplay is simple and limited and there are barely any additional features.

The main game mode for GRIDD is, appropriately, named “Arcade mode.” Players take control of a digital spaceship that is hacking into a computer or something, it’s not very clear what’s going on. The goal is to get as far as possible by moving your ship around, avoiding enemy attacks and obstacles and blasting away as many things in your path as possible. This means to play GRIDD, you only need to use the left stick and the A button to move and shoot.

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GRIDD: Retroenhanced really wants to be an arcade game, with all the good and the bad that comes with it Photo: Kongregate

Along the way there are crucial pickups to find, like ways to upgrade your ship’s health, shields and firepower. Getting every shield upgrade you can find is incredibly crucial to success, because you will get hit or run into things many, many times.

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The evil floating head that you must destroy, because reasons Photo: Kongregate

You will encounter many of the same enemies and moments every time you start a run in Arcade mode. However, small differences like obstacle placement can differ in each run. The reason why I know this is because every time you die in GRIDD, you are brought back to the main menu. If you want to play again, you’ll have to start over from the beginning, like an arcade game.

While GRIDD is a pretty challenging game, requiring players to make snap movements to avoid all the lasers and giant floating shapes that pop up, the biggest challenge is trying to see what’s going on. The game’s camera loves to sit on an odd angle to the side of the action, but occasionally jumps around, zooms in or pulls back on the action. This makes avoiding objects in a 3D space even more difficult, because the angle of the camera often makes it difficult to tell where they are.

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You will end up hating these lasers, I guarantee it. Photo: Kongregate

Aesthetically, GRIDD is riding the wave of dark 80s nostalgia, complete with a modern take on vector graphics and a Synthwave soundtrack. Add in the whole “hacker” tone, and this feels straight out of a dim cabinet from the back of a musty old arcade, sitting right next to Tron and Tempest.

Unfortunately, GRIDD’s retro influences aren’t enough to make me want to keep coming back to play. The janky camera makes what is a difficult game even more challenging, meaning I’ve had a number of deaths I’d consider more frustrating than fair. Add the fact that you must start over every time you die, it makes starting a new run even less appealing.

GRIDD also isn’t going to win anyone over in terms of price. It would be one thing if playing the game cost me 50 cents like an arcade game, but at the price of $11.99, it’s hard to recommend GRIDD to others. If you ever see GRIDD on sale for 50 to 75 percent off, it might be worth picking up, but there’s too little game here to recommend a full-price purchase.

GRIDD: Retroenhanced is now available to play on Steam and Xbox One.

So what do you think? Are you curious to check out this arcade-inspired shooter? What other retro-inspired games have you enjoyed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Windows
  • Xbox One
5.52017-07-27GRIDD: Retroenhanced really wants to be an arcade game, for better and worseGRIDD: Retroenhanced Is Pretty, But Lacks DepthGreat soundtrack Nice visualsAnnoying camera No depth
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