It seems like one of the most popular things to hear on the App Store today is “my game is retro this or old school that”. Unfortunately, that more often than not translates to nothing more than poor graphics and bad music. Thankfully, Retro Dreamer is a company that knows all about its namesake, and they prove it quite admirably with Velocispider. If it weren’t for the fact that the graphics and sound were a bit too good, I’d almost be willing to bet that this were a port of a Nintendo game, and that’s what retro is all about.
You are a velocispider – half velociraptor, half spider, with a bit of cyborg power thrown in for good measure. Apparently your eggs are pretty tasty, because an evil scientist is trying to collect them for his breakfast. You’ll have to fend off 20 waves of diabolical egg snatchers, including the good doctor himself. There are a nice variety of creatures to fight, each with their own style of attack. As for your part in this battle, you tilt the device back and forth to move the velocispider, and press and release the screen to fire a charge shot. Normal firing is handled automatically.
My favorites are what I like to call the “fail whale wannabe”, the super crab, and of course the doctor, who you get the pleasure of confronting twice. Besides the doctor, the only other creature that can steal eggs is a purple squid like thing, but you have to keep a constant watch because they’ll sneak up and snatch eggs while you’re busy worrying about something that’s actually shooting at you. If you lose all three eggs the level is over. Same goes for losing all three hearts.
Thankfully you get several power ups through the course of a level, including points, hearts, and a couple of nice weapons like double shot, triple shot and speed shot. And the plus side, power ups carry through to the next level. On the down side, so does the lack of hearts you might have. The game has 18 achievements that you can work on, but given that part of the game’s old school charm is its tough nature, many of these will probably be hard to get if you’re a more casual gamer. In fact, they’re aren’t really any you earn simply for playing the game. But, that’s pretty good incentive for coming back again and again.
The graphics are retro perfection. Imagine taking a Nintendo game and giving it a VGA facelift, and that’s the style of the visuals. The velocispider is awesome, and the villains are pretty cool as well. As for my favorites, I direct you back to the list above, as they are the same visually as they are game play wise. The background has a nice “ravaged future” look to it, and the cut scenes remind me of the old Ninja Gaiden NES game. I have no idea why, but they do.
The sound effects are about the only thing I’m disappointed with. They’re not bad by any means, but they aren’t really fresh like the rest of the aesthetics. It would be cool if some of the creatures made noises, and I’d really love to hear something from the doctor, even if it was just a maniacal laugh every once in a while. At least the music has that same “authentic but upgraded” feel as the visuals. Granted you’ll be too busy dodging bullets to notice for the most part.
Velocispider is old school gaming personified, right down to the single screen playing field. At the same time it feels fresh and new, without really bringing anything different to the table. There’s lots of action, splendid visuals, and a great soundtrack to listen to. I just wish there were some sort of endless mode or something. That would be icing on this delicious retro cake (okay, so I’m a bit hungry right now).