Sadly, gone are the days of pockets full of quarters and noisy, flashy arcade rooms. Even when I was younger and the 90’s were coming to a close, arcades were a favorite destination of mine, even as I watched local ones wither away. Though modern day arcades like Dave and Busters (and now barcades) are a popular delicacy, they still do not emulate the true feel of coin-ops. Though modern gaming systems may never truly replicate those feelings, that does not mean that developers like Antab Studio are not still inspired by arcade gaming. That is where the love and passion behind Gridd: Retroenhanced comes from.
GRIDD is an on rails, action shooter. Inspired by classics like TRON, GRIDD takes players on a hyper intense shootout through a sentient security system. Sounds pretty inspired right? It is, and it is just as awesome as its inspirations. The concept is simple, and decidedly so. You move with the left analog stick, and shoot with the A button. Simple as can be. With two modes, there is not much to explore, but what is here is worth the experience and is one hell of a ride. Race and fight your way through the system and come out the other side alive, this is your only goal. Are you responsive enough to achieve it? Test yourself in the eventful Arcade mode, which has a set structure and common goal for you to achieve. Along this short adventure you will have to overcome a variety of obstacles and enemies, all of which are donned in fantastic 80’s neon garb, figuratively speaking of course. The whole theme of Gridd just emits “80’s” and it just comes off as super cool. The awesome synth tunes from Dream Fiend further drive the concept to new heights.
All of this awesomeness is easily experienced with the aforementioned simple control scheme. The ship flows effortlessly across the screen, allowing you to line up shots and dodge all sorts of obstacles. Though it controls easily, adapting to the motions of the screen that goes in sync with your ship can be quite the learning curve. It was quite jarring at first to see just how much the screen moved when my ship headed towards the screen’s edge in any direction. It grows on you the more you play, but be prepared to make some poorly timed motions as you adjust for this. The shooting only takes one button, which nets you one shot per press. This, as well as some other features of your ship, can be temporarily upgraded along your playthrough. You can have up to three bullets fire at once if you manage to grab the firepower upgrades. These again are only temporary, for if you take too much damage you will be downgraded to the next tier. You can also grab shield and health upgrades to prolong your life. Keep an eye out for these while strategically piloting your ship, and you are sure to make it the final boss. This boss is one of the most literal on-the-edge-of-your-seat moments I have ever experienced, and it is no cake walk. You need to be at your best to make it to the credits, firing and flying with precision, every moment growing more intense as it goes on. It was an exhilarating battle that really put the cherry on the top for the game as a whole.
Endless mode is also fun and just as intense. This intensity is brought on by its randomly generated tracks, offering a balanced difficulty that adjusts for the players abilities. With this title being budget friendly at under $15, it is a great addition to add some replayability to your purchase. Gridd also offers leaderboards for those who want to be the very best like no one ever was. Gridd is another great short but sweet offering that I have had the pleasure of playing. With simple but fun gameplay, neon 80’s vibes, and a whole bunch of intensity, this game is the perfect fit for those who want a true arcade experience. It is a modernized approach, but boy is it gloriously done. Simple yet elegant, Gridd: Retroenhanced is a true edge of your seat thrill ride.
Final Score: 8/10
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