Play a classic Shoot 'Em Up... in reverse!
User reviews: Very Positive (163 reviews)
Release Date: Mar 20, 2013
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Recommended By Curators

"Showed at PAX East 2012."


“Developer 24 Caret Games has created a frame tale for a rhythm game, and it's clever and creative. Despite all the insanity around the concept – and aside from all the weird "challenge mode" variants, unlockable ships, cute level descriptions, and all the other quirk – Retro/Grade is a well-designed music game with a completely original soundtrack.”
4/5 – Joystiq

“The game has the feel of something that was much-loved and fussed over. There is no aspect of the game that isn’t fun to look it or read, and that level of dedication goes a long way to helping the game stand out in a crowded marketplace.”
Penny Arcade

“Until now, Amplitude has been without a doubt my favorite music game, ever. Retro/Grade scratches that very same itch, but its unique marriage of high-concept premise and classic rhythm gameplay make it an all-around more satisfying experience”
10/10 – Thunderbolt Games

About This Game

Play a classic Shoot 'Em Up... in reverse! Navigate deadly enemy waves and un-fire attacks in Retro/Grade, a mind-bending rhythm game by 24 Caret Games. Pick up a gamepad or a guitar controller and help Rick Rocket restore the continuity of space-time, before a temporal anomaly rips the universe a new time-hole!

Key Features

  • Play with a gamepad, keyboard, or a guitar controller, and control the flow of time with the Retro/Rocket to undo your mistakes.
  • 10 dazzling worlds with unique enemies, epic boss fights, and amazing effects.
  • A campaign with 6 difficulties, 130 different challenges, over 50 minutes of original music, and dozens of unlockable ships and rewards.

System Requirements

    • 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
Helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 21
The one game I would love to buy the soundtrack from, but it gives it to you for free :(
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 18
An interesting rhythm game where you go backwards and have to undo various actions. While the main story is short, there is a really long challenges mode where you have to play the levels with fixed difficulty and certain conditions.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 20
A wonderful blend of shmup and rhythm game. The rhythm element is definitely the stronger but the unique reverse shmup set-up gives this genre a new lease of life. You 'unplay' a level at a time - using rhythm cues to unshoot enemy vessels and unmiss enemy fire.

With a large number of different difficulty levels one might fear a speed up mechanic but so far I have not encountered this - each diffficulty level having been tailor made. This attention to detail really is superb. A combination of these increasing difficulties and the challenge mode (which varies from messing with a track's speed to having the entire level mirrored) really add replayability to the game. Creating that one-more-turn addictiveness has been pulled of well like as in many worthwhile shorter games.

A great example of easy to pick up hard to master.

I sadly haven't yet played on this with a guitar controller but with such a positive experience with this game so far it may not be too long before I get a wireless dongle to use one of those many plastic instruments I have hanging around!

TB's WTF video is well worth a watch if you want some more info and some gameplay.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
I could never lauch this game actually so instead of being too disapointed I masturbated to the black screen it gave me
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1 of 8 people (13%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 5
Only in german.
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12.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 31
I played retro/grade for a few days a few months ago but now since I haven't played it in that while I'm unable to play it anymore, which is why i'm writing this review. It's a good really fun rhythm game, with an amazing soundtrack. I don't think there was a song I disliked. The object of the game is to undue your projectiles, so that you can save time or something, It's really fun, not too difficult. There are 6 difficulty settings ranging from beginner to X-treme. The campaign on normal took me 2 hours, but the other 10 hours came from the challenge mode, which were boring at first because they were easy. But then the difficulty gets so high, 5 levels away from the goal you have to perfectly do X-treme tracks, which requires a lot of repetitive practice, and if you are playing the game daily you will get that. At first if you start up the game and look at the extreme level of tracks you'll be amazed at the difficulty level, but through challenge mode you'll be impressed at your ability to eventually be able to do what you thought was impossible, so very rewarding I say. For 10$ it's a great game just for the music alone, but the gameplay is also great. If you do not like rhythm games though it's not for you. I recommend this game easily.
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25 of 27 people (93%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 17
Retro/Grade is an original sidescrolling shooter as you complete your mission; in reverse.

While Retro/Grade may at first appear to be a generic sidescrolling shooter, the reverse aspect of the game leads it to be a very different kind of game indeed.

I completed the Beginner campaign, and while playing, actually found it to feel a lot more like a Rock Band/Guitar Hero game than a sidescrolling shooter. The reason for this is that you need to "take the place" of your ship before it shoots, which, in a lateral kind of way, feels like hitting notes on a Guitar Hero guitar. Which was great fun!

A fun, original concept, and a very enjoyable experience!

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9 of 10 people (90%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 9
Retro/Grade is yet another clever, genre bending indie gem - that luckily for us, but unfortunately for the developer, will be much to good for mainstream gaming site reviewers to truly recommend. But this is a game that will surprise you, at regular intervals, when it comes to the format, the writing, as well as the slowly appearing underlying concept. And it will perform this feat in such a graceful way it is not necessary to skip past or ignore any rough edges. A quality game that doesn't share much in common with either mindless shooters or stressful rhytm games.

Really, why do you not own this game already?
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17 of 25 people (68%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 28
If on sale, DO NOT MISS THIS.
Immensely beautiful sprite-based indie music game with appealing shmup twist.
a k a The Polynomial, but sidescrolling instead of FPS.
Ranks with Beat Hazard and Amplitude.

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12 of 16 people (75%) found this review helpful
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 17
don't play if you have eplipepsi
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 22
I heard about this game during Summer Sale 2014 and I am so happy that I did. It has a great, original concept and the soundtrack is wonderful.

EDIT: The game seemed very difficult at first due to its unorthodox gameplay, but I grasped the controls quickly and the first three difficulty levels (there are six in total) were a breeze. I now have to beat the last two, and now I wish I had a guitar controller :)

The challenge mode is also very satisfying. Their difficulites vary greatly as well. There are only 10 tracks in the whole game, but the challenge mode does manage to spice up the game. The challenges are not necessarily "more difficult" than their corresponding campaign levels - sometimes they are easier, sometimes they make you wonder " that even possible??".

Also, if you have FPS problems you can just try listening to the music and keep the beats without concentrating too much on the screen instead of meddling with your settings.

Oh, and completing all of the Steam Achievements is very, very difficult (practically impossible for me, but I don't know about you, dear possibly-obsessive-shooter-loving-review-reading-person. There's still hope for you.)
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 21
An ingenius concept with mesmerising visuals and music. A real chill out game on the easier settings, but has plenty of difficulties to crank it up to a real challenge.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
A very good rhythm game for PC, of which there are very few.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
20.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
If you enjoy rhythm games like Guitar Hero, Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan or Beat Hazard, you should definately try this overlooked little gem. The game's formula is simple: you fly back in time in your tiny rocket, dodging enemy bullets and un-firing yours. However, it is extremely polished. Original electronic sound, flasy neon graphics and intense gameplay meld tougether into an almost synesthetic experience of audiovisual rhythmic meditation. The only thing this game lacks is content: it has just 10 levels (plus a bunch of challenges) and doesn't support custom ones. Which is a shame, since this gameplay would be great for any of your favorite chiptune tracks. Retro/Grade would greatly benefit from a workshop if it ever happens. Still, these are 10 levels of pure joy.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
The story and aesthetics of a side-scrolling shooter crossed with the gameplay and soundtrack of the best rhythm games, Retro/Grade is an excellent trip.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.8 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
This game is pretty fun if you like the genre. I almost gave up halfway through the campaign and never tried it again, but I found the challenges game mode to be a lot more fun. The challenges are set up like a super mario game board where beating a level lets you open paths to new levels. There is also music and artwork that can be unlocked through the challenge game board. I'd suggest treating the campaign as a tutorial to learn the game mechanics and then play challenges as the real game.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 28
69p during sale , 30 mins of gameplay and im already happy with it , nice visuals and chilling gameplay 10/10 ,
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
29.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 6
Amazing game!
The graphics are great, the audio is great, gameplay is great, plot is great...
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
21.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 22
Retro/Grade is a well executed mash-up of the Rhythm and Scrolling Shooter genres. When I first started the tutorial I was expecting to be playing (reverse) Gradius to the beat of an awesome soundtrack; But instead what I got was Guitar Hero executed in a way that I had never thought of: To keep the music going while avoiding enemy fire!

The graphics on the game are very vibrant and the colors perfectly compliment the 2-5 lane system. Each lane uses the same color coordination as all the well-known plastic guitars out there for other rhythm games; Not only was it a blessing in disguise to be given something so familiar to me within the genre, but the mixture of colors on-screen from all the attacks made a fantastic light-show! Sometimes the screen could get cluttered with different colors and certain attacks could get very hard to see through all the explosions and other effects on screen, but with enough practice with each level has a pattern that you can follow or sometimes predict to compensate for this problem.

The difficulty scales from "So easy that it's almost hard to play" all the way to "There's so much going on I don't even know what to do!" I found myself preferring the X-Treme difficulty not because it was harder, but because all of the shots felt perfectly in-tune with the music; However, the lower difficulties did well at teaching you how the game works and allowing you to easily learn the system to advance to the next difficulty. The biggest grace about playing on X-Treme difficulty is that with so many more notes to hit every one shows you the route to avoid enemy fire, so I was able to focus more on what I needed to hit and less on how I was going to find the path to hit it.
Also: It's interesting to note how much each level changes to accommodate the new difficulty level. When adding another lane to play on naturally you would need more enemies on screen, but what really shined were the boss levels and how their interactions and patterns changed, making the replaying of each level feel less of a chore and more like a new level all together.

The controls are super simple on both the controller and guitar (I never tried it on keyboard nor had any intentions to do such.) The A button is king and has many different uses based on what's coming at you. From holding it down to fire a beam, to rapidly mashing rockets, to single-fire shots, one button is all you need to take on all the levels. On the other hand, if you've got a plastic guitar handy, this game can really show off your skills. I actually found it more challenging to play the game with the guitar because you have to incrementally slide everywhere to avoid getting hit from behind by enemy fire; It almost feels like you're playing two different stages at the same time in this game because you have to slide from lane to lane avoiding enemy fire and at the same time make sure you're in place to hit the notes coming at you from the other side.

To be honest, I'm good at playing the Guitar when all that's coming at me are notes and I just have to get the timing right or at least memorize the song, but this game actually went beyond my current capabilities with the guitar and that concerns me. I know it's fully possible to beat on the highest difficulty and most likely has been done by someone at least during testing, but I feel that when a rhythm game is more easily played on an xbox or ps4 controller than on a controller specifically made for use with rhythm games, something has gone wrong. I've tried playing Guitar Hero with a PS controller… it was almost impossible for me at higher difficulties. This game feels exactly the same way just in reverse (Hah, almost ironic when thinking about the game's story.)


If you're a fan of rhythm games and want to try something new: This game will fit quite well in your collection regardless of your skill level with the genre. The price is extremely reasonable for the game. (Plus the soundtrack to the game is amazing!)

However, if you want the game because you can use the guitar controller to play it (or even if you just like the space-shooter aspect of the game), I suggest you pass this one up for something that's more of a better fit to your skills.

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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: June 20
If you like like musical rhythm games you need to give Retro/Grade a try. I'm a big fan of games like guitar and rock band so this was right up my alley. The music is pretty catchy as well which is a big plus for the game. I'm also a big shmup fan but this is really more for fans of rhythm games. A cool concept done well, its a shame that this game hasn't got more attention.
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