You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.
User reviews: Very Positive (2,864 reviews)
Release Date: May 6, 2012

Sign in to add this game to your wishlist or mark as not interested

Play You Have to Win the Game

Free to Play
 

Recommended By Curators

"When not working on AAA titles at Gearbox Studios, J. Kyle Pittman apparently has the time to make gems such as You Have to Win the Game."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (4)

November 26

Super Win the Game 33% off!

Thanks for playing You Have to Win the Game! If you haven't checked out its sequel Super Win the Game yet, now is a great time to do so! It's 33% for the next few days as part of the Steam Exploration Sale!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/310700

0 comments Read more

October 1

Super Win the Game is now available!

Super Win the Game is now available at a 10% launch discount on Steam for Windows, Mac, and Linux!

http://store.steampowered.com/app/310700/

2 comments Read more

About This Game

Originally released in May 2012, You Have to Win the Game has now arrived on Steam with a more difficult remixed campaign and Playable Cat DLC*!!

You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.

Run, jump, and avoid deadly pitfalls as you explore the ruins of a lost world in search of hidden treasures and rare artifacts!

Experience the thrill of four-color CGA graphics and monotonic PC speaker sounds! Or take a peek at the future of home entertainment with the SIXTEEN-COLOR EGA GRAPHICS option!

Want a tougher challenge? Try YOLO mode! You only live once -- one wrong move and it's back to the start of the game!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP SP2
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 32-bit executable
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
    • Hard Drive: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or similar
    • Hard Drive: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
Helpful customer reviews
26 of 27 people (96%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 12
I can't believe this game is free because it is really really good!
Without giving too much away the goal is to-- well the title says it all.

A simple puzzle platformer where your wits and curiousity is rewarded, or not.
Expect to die a lot. This is not "I want to be the guy" levels of cheap death nor does it feature that many cheap deaths.
It does contain leaps of faith often though and spikes. Lots of spikes.

xbox controller compatibile, small (111mb), and it's free.

I strongly recommend this game and you have absolutely nothing to lose by trying it out.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
21 of 22 people (95%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
I didn't expect the game to be that good, being free, but it's a good short platformer that provided me with a few hours of fun.

It is very nicely done: the controls are responsive (I used a 360 controller), the graphics are pretty nice (simulating an old 80s monitor) and the game is challenging (hard at times) but nothing that will prevent you from progressing.

It's pretty straightforward what to expect from it, try it if it catches your attention, you might like it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
18 of 19 people (95%) found this review helpful
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 3
This is a nice, completely free-to-play 2D retro style single player platformer along the lines of VVVVVV with a lot of exploration and traversal. One might call it MetroidVania style since its a big open world that has you moving from screen to screen. Each 'room' is only a screen like the original Zelda. Since you are exploring, there is no map. The controls are simple, left and right to move and a jump button. On certain platforms you can hit down on them to fall through the platform like many old school 2D platformers.

Where's the challenge? When you get hit by an enemy or spike you die instantly. Luckily there are checkpoint bells everywhere on almost every screen. When you die, you instantly respawn with no load times. It really keeps you in the action. It is very similar to VVVVVV but much easier and relaxing. If you get frustrated easily, this might not be the game for you, but since you respawn, there's no real punishment for failing.

The game takes an hour or so to complete. For the most part the game is easy fun. It starts out calming and relaxing as you explore, but eventually has tricky platforming areas and intense bullet dodging boss battles. Along the way you'll find loot bags. What do they do? Nothing but an achievement at the end if you collect 100% of them.

Progressing through the game, you will enable different things such as solid blue blocks, solid purple blocks, double jump and so on. To enable each thing, you must get past the boss. I say get past, because you are just a boy in this game with no combat. You will dodge enemies and in the case of a boss, dodge dozens of bullets on screen at once. The bosses fire in patterns, so you will get the hang of it. There is not that much enemy variety, bats, snakes and crabs move left and right, spiders move up and down. The game's main enemy is spikes.

Since this is a retro style game, by default the game has a 1980s monitor feel. Thankfully you can turn off the 1980s monitor and see everything full screen with no added glare. For anyone that finds the game too easy, there is a remixed level design which is much more difficult yet still forgiving with checkpoints everywhere. If you are brave enough there is cat mode that features 9 lives and YOLO that has one life and then its game over.

This is an easy recommendation, but if it was $1 or more challenging I'd be hesitant to recommend, but this feels like a good game for the developer to make a better game with. Solid controls, the understanding of an easy beginning headed toward difficult end.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
Very retro is true! I felt nostalgic playing this and did make me think of old arcade games. Idea and look was great but I need to admit that for me some levels were too hard to pass. I watched in Youtube how people did speedrun of whole game but for me that seems impossible and I do not have to win this game. Fun to try but after constant death the fun was over.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
12 of 13 people (92%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 17
-Oldschool graphics
-Fun to play untill you get stuck at some point imo
-Hardcore mode
-9 lives mode
-Generally a fun game , yet most people wil ragequit at some points of the game :D
Was this review helpful? Yes No
13 of 16 people (81%) found this review helpful
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: August 2
You know what, you have to play the game
Was this review helpful? Yes No
9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 1
Hell yeah this game owns. It reminds me of VVVVVV a ton, in that most rooms contain a puzzle to solve and there's collectable crap scattered all over. It's short and doesn't overstay it's welcome, but it does have a ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ ending where you can pick the wrong choice and basically undo all the little story bits you come across.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: October 3
You Have to Play the Game
Was this review helpful? Yes No
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
22.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 29
Obviously inspired by VVVVVV. It has the same kind of world, made from a grid of named rooms. The same balance of brutally difficult jumps and frequent save points. None of VVVVVV's gravity gimmicks though. YHTWTG has traditional platforming, and more emphasis on exploration.

The aesthetic is a big part of it, especially in 4-color CGA mode. It's not just "pixels because low budget" or "pixels cause that's what I can do". The different rooms and areas feel unique, and are detailed, even in only 4 colors. It's done very well.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
PROS:
- Nostalgic value.
- CRT simulation.
- NERD Engine.
- Free.

CONS:
- Difficulty: not so easy to 100%.

Final Remarks:
You Have to Win the Game reminds me of good ol' retro platformers I played as a kid. Kudos to Pirate Hearts!

. RECOMMENDED .
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 26
Has a great nostalgic feel to it.

+Fun
+Challenging
+Soundtrack

8/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 14
I have never been so frustrated in my entire life by playing this game. 10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
A challenging platformer with some tricky jumps and segments all around, and a few references to movies and games here and there. It's also free, so if you're looking for a challenging platformer in the vein of VVVVVV, you can't go wrong with this.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: July 29
This is a really neat game, and it was free. You play as the guy and you have to move across the cave-like enviorment to collect moneybags and you die. Alot. My one game, I died 200+ times. I suggest you install it, because it is free and it's something short, simple, and fun.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: December 13
When I first played this game, I played it for only five minutes, turned it off, then went and wrote a review saying it wasn't that good.

Then I played it again.

I found that this game was much more than just a stupid-rage-inducing-waste-of-Steam-library-space. It was indeed a fun time waster that I definately enjoyed.

And hey, it's free. What's the worst that can happen?
Was this review helpful? Yes No
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
5.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
An splendid free little game which poses as simply another 2D retro platformer, but is actually a both skillful and heartful love letter to PC games in the 70s/80s. "You Have To Win The Game" is a collectathon of the likes of VVVVVV, with tricky jumps and an extensive map to go back and forth until you collected everything and, well, win the game.

Short but sweet. Highly recommended.

And it has 2 cats!
2cats!
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Good metroidvania platformer. The lack of background music isn't too nice, but there are worse things out there. The game is pretty short, but also pretty fun for the time.
It even features a yolo and a cat mode, so there might be something for everyone.
Considering it's free, you should check it out.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 8
A wonderful flashback to the days of unfairly hard platformers such as Maniac Miner. A must play for all skilled gamers.
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 11
This game is harder than Stallones bicep in his best form. Enjoy!

10/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No
2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
It's fun and free. Why haven't you downloaded this yet?
Was this review helpful? Yes No