You Have to Win the Game is a free exploration platformer with a retro 1980s PC aesthetic.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (78 reviews) - 92% of the 78 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (4,479 reviews) - 93% of the 4,479 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
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (78 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (4,479 reviews)
Recently Posted
Jackson
( 0.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 29
meh. it is hard
Helpful? Yes No Funny
le BOT LennyS
( 1.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 28
git gud 2ez4me
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TheFrogMan1
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 28
Product received for free
I give up.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
//kyoto_GOD
( 1.0 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
Product received for free
I want to smash my monitor with a hammer so ♥♥♥♥ing bad right now you don't even know.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
meambobbo
( 3.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 26
+ tight controls
+ good challenge
+ level design not too confusing but gets complex
+ cool CRT simulation on retro pixel art graphics
+ quick restart on deaths (very frequent)
- extremely simple (feels almost like a dos game vs NES)
- confusing ending

verdict: if you like simple retro platforming exploration, this is a great game. if you want a story, flashy graphics, or to kill stuff, you will hate this.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
The Elemental Gamer
( 1.4 hrs on record )
Posted: May 26
Do you like platformers?
Do you like cats?
Do you like unkillable bosses?
Do you like climbing up walls?
Do you like mechanics so simple a baby blobfish could play it?
Do you like giant caves?
Do you like wining?
Do you like losing?
Do. You. Like. Fun?????

If yes, this is the game for you


The goal? The only goal? The single only goal in your entire life?


YOU HAVE TO WIN THE GAME


Helpful? Yes No Funny
Clatern5466
( 2.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 26
Product received for free
This Game is You Have to Win the Game. It has a very creative title, and the title seems creative by it not being creative. Weird, isn't it?
So... This game is a game that involves exploration. Exploration is the main part of the game. Room after room of exploration. After some of the harder rooms, you find power-ups that can be helpful in certain previous areas. That's about the gist of it, and it can get tiring after a while, but it's pretty fun before that while ends.
Overall, I would give it a 7/10.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Brsk79
( 1.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 25
Product received for free
Easy to play,just WASD or arrows,little funny free game to kill some time but also forcing you to focus at the higher difficulty levels.
Played for about half an hour and I recommend you to try it!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
yiff me
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 24
I can recommend this game, it's the perfect game if you have nothing to do and want to waste some time. The difficulty of the game is great - there are some hard jumps and some jumps that are easier to do. The graphics are also fine, even though they are retro-themed.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Beef
( 6.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 23
Very frustrating, but oh so satisfying to 100%.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
♥-Sansy_boy850-♥
( 1.6 hrs on record )
Posted: May 23
Product received for free
Actually, i thought it was gonna be bad but after i played it i realized it was a very nice game, it was hard but easy so it was goood for me
Helpful? Yes No Funny
that llama guy
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 23
It is hard but we all need a challenge once in a while so I say GET IT NOW!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!11!!!!!!!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
OutlawJosiah
( 5.1 hrs on record )
Posted: May 22
Best 2 hours without spending a dime.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
TheTrueGamer
( 0.2 hrs on record )
Posted: May 22
Product received for free
Amazingly chalanging
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cal_Amarain
( 1.7 hrs on record )
Posted: May 21
Product received for free
Really quite good - old school platformer. Good learning and difficulty curve, never gets too frustrating. Short and sweet.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
[TryHard] SNIPER LBJ
( 1.5 hrs on record )
Posted: May 20
Great game, if you played video games in the 80s, you will love. Hard as ♥♥♥♥, prepare to be frustrated in a good way.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Viciadensis
( 1.3 hrs on record )
Posted: May 20
This is definetely a little surprise somewhat hidden is Steam. You Have to Win the Game is a short but rewarding game, in which both platformer fans and completionists will enjoy. As it tries to copy a retro game, by the simulated screen, and the keyboards sounds, I think is one of the few that truly achieve it, not only by astheticd, but sound, feel and gameplay. However, one problem is the lack of music (despite the one there is in the trailer).If you just want to finish the game, it will be a good game for the afternoon. If you want to win it, however, expect it to be much longer (especially without the internet's help). PLus, it's free!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Quackinator
( 2.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 19
A stripped back, metroid style retro platformer. Simple and perfectly formed. Play it if you like VVVVV, Super Meat Boy, or just generally enjoy being a cheapskate [seriously this thing is free just play it already]
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
26 of 27 people (96%) found this review helpful
27 people found this review funny
Recommended
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 15
>Start Game
>Get Lost
>Die
>Get Lost Again
>Die Some More
>Die Again
>Cry
>Get Blue Bricks
>Get Red Bricks
>Get Double Jump
>Get Wall Climb
>Feel Indestructable
>Die Some More
>Spend 30 Minutes On Hardcore Prawn
>Get To The End
>Need A Code
>Don't Have A Code
>Get A Code
>Decipher Code
>Win Game
>Except I DIdn't
>Need Money
>Get All But One Money Bag
>Sacrifice My Pride And Look Up Walkthrough
>You Have To Lose To Get It
>Wat
>Get The Money
>Lose Game
>Apparently I Missed Another One
>Die Again
>Cry

9/10
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 17
A nice game made in a retro style, which seems to take inspiration from VVVVVV, being challenging but not unforgiving. The aesthethic is very simple as you can see from the screenshots; and it emulates being played on an old monitor. Even then, you can disable that effect, and add colour if you like.

So, let's go to gameplay. It's a pretty simple platformer, but, like I mentioned above, it's challenging. It also has a metroidvania style, meaning that there's no clear path when you start, but you still need to unlock certain abilities in order to progress. Most of the levels offer a different puzzle, and while some might seem hard at first, once you figure out how to solve them, they can be quite easy. Even then, there's a few that relay on fast reflexes, which increases the difficulty a bit, but, as I said, the game is forgiving, meaning you'll always have a checkpoint nearby whenever a tough puzzle comes up.

The game also offers three different gamemodes: normal, with unlimited lives; cat mode, with 9 lives (but keeps checkpoints); and YOLO mode, which disables checkpoints entirely, meaning that if you die, you've got to restart from the beginning. Even then, when you come to know the game, YOLO mode adds a nice challenge. Besides the different gamemodes, the game offers two campaigns, the original campaign, and the "Extra Spicy" one, which changes most of the levels, making them more difficult.

I don't think I have a lot more to say about this game, other than I enjoyed it. If you like platformers like VVVVVV, or Super Meat Boy, I think you'll enjoy this game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
0.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
Product received for free
Mario + Zelda + Impossible Game.
So simple. So awesome.
Get it, play it, love it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 20
Great game, if you played video games in the 80s, you will love. Hard as ♥♥♥♥, prepare to be frustrated in a good way.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
8 people found this review funny
Recommended
92.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 8
Features:
- Jumping
- Double Jumping
- Wall Jumping
- Death
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 21
Product received for free
Really quite good - old school platformer. Good learning and difficulty curve, never gets too frustrating. Short and sweet.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 19
A stripped back, metroid style retro platformer. Simple and perfectly formed. Play it if you like VVVVV, Super Meat Boy, or just generally enjoy being a cheapskate [seriously this thing is free just play it already]
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
21.4 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
Great vibe and level design! a definite recommendation!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 7
Still haven't won yet ssorry dadd
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 8
I really hesitate to recommend this game. If it cost $5, I would not have, but it was free, and I was mildly entertained.

Visually the game is very appealing and has the look of a CRT TV. The controls are tight, and the game is mildly difficult. I played through it once and got the bad ending.
My only real complaint is that there is no music. unless you are jumping or something's shooting at you, there is no sound whatsoever. The sound effects alone are a little bit annoying, which makes me feel like the game would've been better without sound. Other than that, it is a pretty fun little metroidvania title worth a half hour of your time.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 6
Product received for free
Did anyone else find satisfaction while you heard the keyboard typing..
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: May 12
This game is beutifully crafted; it works like an arcade game!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 90 days
5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 25
Even with many indie releases made in the retro style, it's still quite interesting to me how far devs will go to mimic the exact style of retro games. For me, this is best shown in You Have to Win the Game.

Cons:
-No music whatsoever. I understand that it's going for the style of a Commodore game, but many games for that computer had good music. This is my biggest problem with the game.
-It seems to me as though the developer (who refers to himself as Kyle in the "support the developer" section) tried too hard to exactly mimic the C64. I would love to see this game made more expansive.
Pros
-Metroid-style gameplay. Of course, there are fewer items, you're not a badass Power Suit-wearing bounty hunter like Samus (in fact, as far as I know, there is no weapon) but the combination of player-driven exploration and strong platforming bears a resemblance to Super Metroid or Metroid II.
-Amazing conveyance. Here is how the developer designed the game: You start the game and immediately encounter branching paths. Since the player just started, they want to keep going. They choose a direction and go. As they go along, they find outlines of platforms. They realize that there must be something to create platforms. This gives them the patience to keep going. They eventually find a boss. Having no weapon, they instead figure out the most effective way to dodge the barrage of projectiles. They then will find either the Crimson or Cerulean Aura. Et cetera, et cetera. Short version: the game is good at keeping the player going and teaching them.
-The player is always, always in control.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
Great game, reminder of the day i used to play nes, spectrum.. the good days when you could pick up a game and just play it

Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 2
Short and fun metroidvania. It's 8-bit and made by one person... and oh ya, it's free.
What have you got to loose?
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
Recommended
1.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 10
This simple platformer is pretty great. I loved the retro look and overall feel. The game is pretty short, but that is to be expected with a singleplayer free to play game. The actual game can be pretty difficult. I personally got lost really easily. If you are looking for a short game to play through, this is a great one.

Pros:
Retro feel
Quality platforming game design
Challenging

Cons:
Easy to get lost and run in circles
Short

Overall, I would give this game a 7/10. It is fun and simple. No reason not to download it.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 180 days
15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
26.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
I don't normally play old-school platformers, but i stumbled across this one and had to give it a go. It was detemined to destroy ego, but it makes you feel like a god passing hard rooms. Completly free, worth a go if your up for it.

Two thumbs up!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Recommended
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
We played the Super Mario Bros to save Princess Peach from Bowser.
We played the Mega Man series to save the world from Dr.Wily's notoriety.
We played Castlevania to kill Dracula.
We played Metroid to retrieve the parasitic Metroid organism from the space pirates.

But in this nostalgia-emitting platforming game, we play this game because we have to win it. You have to win the game!

The game starts of in a room where the player are given chances to learn the simple controls, walk and jump. From there on, as you collects more equipment, your walk and jump won't be the same as before. The game will challenge your platforming skill and your patience as you explore numerous rooms each with a different obstacles to overcome. As some room features a nerve-wracking obstacles, players get to hone their platforming skills as they jump over spikes and enemies. Unlike some of your usual platforming, you can't kill the enemies. This contributes the game to only make it more challenging.

I find it quite disappointing somehow that the game doesn't contain any background music during my gameplay. The music in the trailer sounded really good. Chiptunes aside, the graphics are just beautiful. When was the last time you played a game that has a calming graphics where it doesn't burn your eyes to look at? The simple colors used in this game really pleases me, and especially that hard mode. The first normal play you're underground of some sort, managed to complete it, challenge yourself for a harder run as you witness an outstanding retro forest.

I'm not going to talk more about it since the game itself is free. You can download this game, and experience the retro feeling by yourself. Its not unfairly hard, its just challenging.

7.5/10

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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 3
Fun little platformer with the die and repeat style of gameplay. You can hit savepoints almost every screen change since it does have some difficult spots to get through. You can find powerups as you traverse the map that will unlock colored tiles that were invisible before, dumble jump, and sticky hands which lets you climb the walls. You can also try and collect 100% of the money that is laying around.

I didn't complete the game myself since I decided to check out the cat DLC that it has and it saved over my first game. After that I didn't feel like playing it anymore. It is fun though and worth a play. Won't hurt either since it's free.
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11 of 16 people (69%) found this review helpful
10 people found this review funny
Recommended
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 11
Insanity!

Would lose my mind again, If I ever find it.
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