You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (73 reviews) - 80% of the 73 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (4,675 reviews) - 92% of the 4,675 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 6, 2012

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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
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 32-bit executable
    Minimum:
    • OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or similar
    • Storage: 20 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Very Positive (73 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (4,675 reviews)
Recently Posted
Shrilax
2.9 hrs
Posted: August 28
By far my favorite free to play game on steam. I enjoyed every minute of playing this game. If you are a fan of the retro era games definately give this game a shot!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
FireFlamePhoenix
1.7 hrs
Posted: August 28
Charming Little Platformer
I absolutly love this game! Firstly I love retro games, and the graphics accuratly emulate that of an ancient pc game from the 80's, with the four color palette with magenta, cyan, black, and white; or you can select the 16 color pallete in the options. The storys practially non exsistent, once again emulating the old pc game style; the graphics are primitive; the controls are fluent and simple; yet what the graphics and plot lack are made up in the challenging and intuitive gamplay. the difficulty is just right, some parts just below the rage enducing mark, but I personally like a good challenge! The one thing that troubled me the first time I looked at the game on the Steam page was that dumb monitor border that shrinks and bends the game image, once again going for that old gaming pc feel, but after looking in the options the developers were gracious enough to let you turn off the damn thing. So overall I have nothing bad to say about this game, it's a charming little gem in the vast steam library and would recomend giving it a shot on a quiet night with the lights off, just like retro style games deserve to be played!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
POOBEE02
3.6 hrs
Posted: August 27
It's a great platformer rage game, and it has multiple game modes. It's really creative the way it was made, and gets a bit addicting after a while. I love the style of platformer, and all of the hidden secrets make it amazing. It's also brilliant how they made the ending right next to the start, but you have to progress through other areas to beat the game. Still not convinced? It's free!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
scottyo
1.3 hrs
Posted: August 26
free game. good platforming.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
paciFIST
0.1 hrs
Posted: August 26
this glitchy mess is great, pink screens forever
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Jonathan! #Had school & band
0.3 hrs
Posted: August 26
This game is cool, for free too.
Why I say this is because it's mostly hard-core.
Imagine your natural, classic platformer.
Multiply that difficulty by atleast 20x, maybe even 50x if it's not enough.
And boom, you have this game.
What's even more cooler is that it's really REALLY long, so if you get ♥♥♥♥♥♥, you can exit out anytime, and you'll be brought back to where your last save was.


It's a game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ripbane
0.8 hrs
Posted: August 24
No, you have not
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Mudmage
1.4 hrs
Posted: August 24
I havent even played the game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
donutslayer
0.1 hrs
Posted: August 24
awful.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Санкционный Линукс
4.6 hrs
Posted: August 22
This game is amazing!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 15
Worth checking out. Good amount of difficulty and a satisfying ending.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
46.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 16
This is a good game with an old timey feel that dosen't get old llike other games do and its free so why not
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
An arcade-style game, with smooth controls, easy to pick up and play, with unlimited lives (oh yeah, you are going to need those), and three different modes, for free? Oh, I would take this offer any day!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
10 of 20 people (50%) found this review helpful
9 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: August 8
Don't go to lose until you get EVERYTHING in the game. Selecting lose will take away all your abilities. RIP. I am 100% salty.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
480 of 532 people (90%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 6, 2014
Exactly what it says on the tin, it's a free tricky retro platformer. Will not disappoint.

Oh and you can play as a cat.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
366 of 452 people (81%) found this review helpful
13 people found this review funny
Recommended
9.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 6, 2014
The game is so good even steam published it 2 times.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
203 of 243 people (84%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 6, 2014
You Have to Win this Game is a quality 2D platformer at an unbeatable price. Free.

Here's a Quick Look video I did of the game after “winning” it. Have a look if you want to see the game in action, or just read the in-depth review below for something more concise. (Please note I did this video before it was released on Steam, which simply means it only shows the original game and not the much-harder, remixed version you can select at the beginning)

http://youtu.be/LIjulBMI85U

To begin, I'll say this game is a classic platformer in every sense. You jump from platform to platform all the while dodging spikes, energy balls, angry crabs, and anything else the game throws at you. Yet while you may not be able to kill anything, you are able to acquire power-ups like activating ghost blocks, double jumping, and jumping off walls to navigate the map easier. There are even checkpoints littered everywhere so when you do die, you can instantly respawn and try again as many times as you wish.

But don't be fooled. Although you may not have any lives (except if you're doing YOLO or the cat, you crazy person), the game is challenging, especially when you're gunning for optional moneybags to collect. You'll probably die multiple times before nailing the pattern down to pass to the next screen. But thankfully it never feels frustrating due to the instant respawn that's always nearby. It's the game's forgiving nature that allows you to constantly want to beat what's stopping you. And I can safely say that every time I did fail, I just dismissed it as my own fault and kept at it until I beat the obstacle. Which is truly the mark of a good platformer.

The game also has a nice, retro visual style. I enjoy how the game acts as if you're playing a classic game on an old TV. It really put me back in the mood when I was just a kid playing my NES. Now while I realize that some people may not have experienced or liked something like this, I really do think it adds to the game because it successfully mimics the era where games used to be like this. It simply gave me nostalgia all over. But hey, for those that don't want it, you can easily turn it off in the options menu.

Now let's talk about a few of the game's flaws:
*There's no music. Some awesome chiptunes really would've made this game shine. Instead all you get is silence
*It's really short. It'll only take about an hour to “beat,” more if you collect everything and explore
*No story. You just thrown into it not knowing what the heck you are or what you're doing. Personally, I don't really mind it not having one since games like Mario never really had much of story either, but some people like to have some purpose other than beating the game. And no, the clever title doesn't count as a reason =p

That's really all of the negatives I could think of. The game simply does its job well, especially so because of how it leads you where you need to be without holding your hand. There's no maps, quest markers, or waypoints telling you where to go, just like most classic games. But somehow I always wound up where I needed to be even when exploring just for the fun of it. Sure, the game liked leading you to places you couldn't do anything in until you got a power-up, or even trolling you by making you do platforming again for trying to take an easy route, but I always regarded it as a discovery that brought me one step closer to the end.

So to sum this game up, it's simply a joy to play. You don't get many free games as good as this one. So if you have some time to burn or are bored, pick this up and have a blast. There's even a NG+ for those like me who missed stuff on their first playthrough.
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149 of 171 people (87%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 6, 2014
ONE OF BEST OLDSCHOOL PLATFORMER GAME, AND ITS FREE. JUST PLAY IT!

-Positive
Great graphics with old monitor.
Awesome level design.
Smooth controls including double jump.
A hidden MAGIC WORD
Lots of CATS and other stuff.
yea CATS!!!

-Negative
Trying to finish %100 is pain in the ♥♥♥.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny