Originally posted Feb 1, 2019, reformated and updated Aug 4 2020.
Retro games exist to pull at the heartstrings of our childhood memories; everyone has that special game that introduced them to the wonderful world of gaming, for me it was Ecco the Dolphin on my uncles Sega Megadrive (Genesis).
Without further delay, ten retro games that capture the aesthetics/essence of the 80s and 90s!
1) Gun Rocket.
With a simple pallet reminiscent of the earliest PC games Gun rocket provides a “free with windows 98” style gaming experience which was the first PC game experience for many of us, the gameplay reminded me also of the 30 minutes AOL demos which as a child without a credit card were a source of both enjoyment and frustration.
Mechanic wise the controls are easy to pick up, and for the price provide a pretty decent amount of control over your green triangle… I mean space ship!
It is not a brilliant game, and honestly, it’s not the type of game I would go out and purchase, so many better free games exist.
2) Fantasya Final Definitive Redux.
While I don’t recommend this game for too many reasons to list, it sure does bring back warm feelings of better games, like the early sprite-based Final Fantasy and Zelda games!
For some reason, it also has the title crawl of Star Wars… I won’t ask questions.. some answers are best left a mystery.
The title alone should have been a red flag, but in my eternal quest to try every game in my backlog,m I decided to give it a go.
Combine the worst elements of RPG maker with the worst elements of JRPG, and you have Fantasya Final Definitive Redux.
The only good thing about it is the sprite; they are pretty decent imitations of the SNES Final Fantasy games.
Wuppo for some reason makes me miss the good old days of playing Tombi on my PS-One, man I wish I could play Tombi again.. time to dust off the old Credit card and find a new copy…
Eh umm back to Wuppo.
Controls, gameplay and graphics are all simple, yet somehow endearing in its own way.
It’s one of the better faux-retro games available but lacks the charm and nostalgia of titles actually released during the 1990s.
Fans of retro games will want to give it a try.
4) Boom Box Blue.
When playing Boom Box Blue, I am reminded of the days when just about anything ended up with a Saturday morning cartoon and a video game, yep I am looking at you “Real Monsters”, one of the best Sega Mega Drive titles in my personal opinion.
Soo back to Boom Box Blue, with its simple graphics and mechanics, provides a surprisingly fun way to waste a few minutes here and there and while it is based off no IP, it feels so much like the spin-off Megadrive/SNES games of the mid-90s that it brought back a flood of memories of games like Dr Robotniks Mean Bean Machine and Paper Mario, spin-off “cash grabs” that hold a special place in the hearts of many, myself included.
5) Bit Evolution.
Nostalgia for three decades of gamers all in a single title, from the simple bi-colour 70s (pong) to the platformer golden age of the 90’s take your little sprite from zero (the ball in pong) to hero ( a Megaman like character) loads of fun for gamers of all ages, with graphics and sounds that faithfully represent the era they are portraying.
To me, this is one of the better faux-retro games; the wide variety of styles is like a road trip through gaming history.
Well worth a play for anyone with interest in unique indie games or those wanting to relive the early years of gaming.
6) 80 Days.
In the very early 90’s before I had my first console I used to love the choose your own adventure Sonic the Hedgehog books, and while 80 days is nor a book nor filled with blue hedgehogs, the simple graphics and well written choose your adventure plot is sure to be a hit with fans of the genre, or even fans of the Book itself, Around the World in Eighty Days.
Its the type of “gateway game” that non-gamers friends and relatives would feel comfortable playing.
There is not much to keep the attention of hardcore gamers, but for casuals and non-gamers, I fully recommend 80 Days.
7) Airscape: The Fall of Gravity.
First of all, I must congratulate the devs on the art style, it is quirky and unique and adds a great feel to the game, gameplay-wise it is very much like if Sonic and Ecco the Dolphin had a baby, the rotating map is a little dizzying, but overall I feel fans of the genre will enjoy this fresh take on a classic formula.
Unlike most games on this list, Airscape copies only the mechanics of the 1990s, the graphical styling is more reminiscent of the mid-2000s, a really enjoyable title, but not an authentic tribute to the golden era of platformers.
8) Freedom Planet.
Freedom Planet is the perfect slice of nostalgia for any platformer fan from the golden age, that’s right the early ’90s were some of the best years for platforming on both Sega and Nintendo consoles, and Freedom Planet captures the art and sound design perfectly of this era, as well as providing an authentic mechanical experience reminiscent of the 90’s 16bit consoles, a real delight for all fans of Classic Sonic or Mario.
Freedom Planet plays best with a controller, keyboard and mouse platformers did exist in the 1990s, but they were often third rate knockoffs of Sonic or Mario, and a far cry from the experience that was available on SNES and Sega Genesis.
9) BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2.
BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2 is simple to learn, yet challenging to master, and will provide a lot of fun for fans of non-traditional platformers and could also appeal to fans of mobile games, where the genre is more common.
10) ARCADE GAME SERIES: DIG DUG.
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Playstation Now, stream over 800 PS2, PS3 and PS4 games legally on your PC & PS4 with PSNow, a ground breaking cloud gaming console service for Playstation 4 and PC