Retro-Inspired Indie Games (Part 6)

Retro-Inspired Indie Games (Part 6)

Game like it's 1995

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

Retro games never go out of style so here are 8 modern interpretations of the classics that old-school gamers such as myself will enjoy.

Pixel Ripped 1995 Review PlayStation 4 ★★★★☆

Who said VR was too modern for retro games? Probably no one and Pixel Ripped is back to prove that it's a winning combination.

Pixel Ripped 1995 screenshot
This level makes me sincerely miss video stores

Back in 2018, I reviewed Pixel Ripped 1989 which was our very first Rapid Fire Review and here I am a couple of years later reviewing the delightful sequel Pixel Ripped 1995. For the unfamiliar, it's a PlayStation VR game where you play as a kid named David who's playing games. Yes, it's very meta and just like a kid playing games, the world around you doesn't want you playing games so you'll end up dealing with your mom who refuses to understand your obsession as well as a bully and the games even seep into David's reality. This happens because our virtual hero Dot needs help so she gets inside the boy's soul without even paying the troll toll. Anyway, it does such a fantastic job that I even forgot I was wearing a VR headset and got scared when a door in the background opened.

Each level poses a distinct scenario and boss fight. For example, you'll find yourself distracting your mom by knocking things over with a toy gun so you can keep playing and later on, you'll throw bananas out of the back of your dad's car to deal with a pesky boss who has invaded your reality. The amount of variety is phenomenal and one of my favourite levels involves swapping between 2 games in a video store which somehow affect each other. My primary complaint is that it crashed once at the end of a level and made me replay the whole thing again but other than that, it's a wonderful game that I highly recommend to any old-school gamer who has a VR headset.

Pixel Ripped 1995 is a must-have PSVR game, especially for gamers who grew up in the '90s as it makes for one brilliant nostalgia trip.

Pixel Ripped 1995 gameplay video → Pixel Ripped 1989 Review

Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl Review Switch ★★★★☆

Ladies, ladies, ladies; Jay and Silent Bob are in the hizzouse! And now, they're a couple of 8-bit Mall Rats who are cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl screenshot
Lunchbox really packs a punch!

As a huge fan of Kevin Smith and his View Askewniverse, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a Jay and Silent Bob video game. Keep in mind; Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl is a sort of appetiser game for the upcoming Chronic Blunt Punch but it's surprisingly great for a retro-inspired brawler. All you do is run around a mall while beating on a bunch of ball-lickers and you can enjoy the 8-bit chaos cooperatively with a friend, too. The basic controls involve jumping, punching, and kicking, and you can spend earned stars to perform cool moves after combos, too. There's an impressively steep level of difficulty and some truly annoying parts such as rooms infested with ankle-biter type enemies but the amount of variety and challenge is undeniably satisfying. Plus, the 8-bit visuals and animation really pop.

Old-school beat 'em ups don't get much more authentic or enjoyable than Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl. Snootch to the nootch!

Jay and Silent Bob: Mall Brawl gameplay video → More beat 'em ups

SNK Gals' Fighters Review Switch ★★★☆☆

SNK has a long history of creating top-notch fighting games so here's a port of their Neo Geo Pocket Color game SNK Gals' Fighters.

SNK Gals' Fighters screenshot
Nakoruru looks like she's begging Leona for mercy

I don't think I've ever seen a port of a Neo Geo Pocket Color game on modern consoles before so playing SNK Gals' Fighters on Switch was quite interesting. It basically looks and plays like a Game Boy Color game albeit with slightly better visuals and it's pretty fun. After choosing your fighter from a selection of 11 (3 of which are unlockable), you fight in a series of 1-on-1 battles. Considering there are only 2 attack buttons, I was surprised by how many moves each fighter is capable of, especially with the Gal Gauge system in place which allows you to deploy powerful moves. All of that being said, it's still an extremely simple and rather dated game so its main appeal is definitely fueled by nostalgia. It's great that you can play against a friend, though, and there are some nifty display options.

Overall, SNK Gals' Fighters is a fun retro portable fighting game that's a bit too basic to thoroughly enjoy in this day and age.

SNK Gals' Fighters gameplay video → Similar game: SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy

Jet Lancer Review Switch ★★★★☆

I love flight combat games but rarely does the genre enter the 2D realm so let's check out the high-octane fun of Jet Lancer.

Jet Lancer screenshot
No screenshot can do Jet Lancer's action-packed gameplay justice

Jet Lancer has you pilot a fighter jet in order to carry out various missions which usually involve blowing up enemy jets and ships. The controls have you soar through scrolling stages as you deploy missiles and fire a minigun while dodge-rolling and utilizing your afterburner to get out of harm's way. Although this sounds simple, the resulting action is fast-paced, challenging, and a heck of a lot of fun. The situations become quite tricky throughout the campaign so being able to emerge unscathed in the later levels is a rather steep challenge. On top of all that, the stylish and often flashy visuals and music make the gameplay even more enjoyable. Factor in a variety of crazy boss fights and unique pixel-perfect environments and you're left with one challenging arcade shooter that's difficult to put down.

When it comes to action-packed arcade shooting gameplay, few indies rise to the level of quality that Jet Lancer presents.

Jet Lancer gameplay video →

Megabyte Punch Review Switch ★★★★☆

Some indies are inspired by classics that few dare to emulate. With that in mind, here's a 2D platformer with a Super Smash Bros. flair.

Megabyte Punch screenshot
Now, this is one cool custom robo!

Megabyte Punch is a truly unique experience. You basically control a robot who runs and jumps around stages. Meanwhile, you can find and equip scrap parts to your head, core, shoulder, hip, arms, and legs that grant you new abilities and attacks. Beating on enemies makes them weaker and once weakened enough, they fly and smash into walls thus perishing and may even make a hole in the terrain. It's pretty fun stuff for sure and when you consider the fact that you can play it cooperatively with up to 4 local players and even fight each other in a battle mode, you're looking at one fully-featured package. Heck, you can even scan amiibo to make your robot match your favourite amiibo's colour scheme. My only complaint is that the unconfigurable controls take a long time to get used to.

Whether you're playing it with a few friends or going it alone, Megabyte Punch offers a great deal of fun gameplay and customization.

Megabyte Punch gameplay video → More games with amiibo support

Ping Redux Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Sometimes, simple games provide an impressive amount of fun and Ping Redux's voxel-bouncing gameplay offers one such indie formula.

Ping Redux screenshot
It may not look like much but Ping Redux will surely get its hooks in you

Ping Redux essentially has you aim a voxel in order to try and have it reach the goal in as few bounces as possible. As soon as it reaches the current level's maximum number of bounces, you'll have to try again. Seeing as it bounces off walls and obstacles, you'll have to either carefully plan each attempt or just keep at it while making small (or completely random) adjustments. There are boss stages, too, which offer some much-needed variety but overall, it remains an incredibly simplistic game and some stages can be downright brutal with how finicky they are. However, the soundtrack is just awesome and I appreciate the minimalistic visual style as well.

As one of the simplest games that I've ever played, Ping Redux is surprisingly enjoyable; that is, when it's not being too finicky.

Ping Redux gameplay video →

Totes the Goat Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Hopping on cubes has been fun since 1982's Q*bert so does Totes the Goat have what it takes to live up to the foul-mouthed classic?

Totes the Goat screenshot
Yes, Totes the Goat is basically Q*bert

There's absolutely no denying it; Totes the Goat is a full-on Q*bert clone. Considering Q*bert hasn't been around for a while, this might not be a bad thing and thankfully, Totes the Goat is a cute and enjoyable little game where you try and change every cube's colour by hopping on it in order to progress to the next stage. As you play, you'll try and increase your top score as well as collect coins that you can exchange for new character skins including ones from Xeodrifter and Mutant Mudds. In the end, it's an easy breezy game that's fun to pick up and play every once in a while as you get higher scores and unlock more chums.

Totes the Goat is a simple clone of Q*bert but one that has its own charms and more importantly, is much less frustrating.

Totes the Goat gameplay video → Similar game: Q*bert

Dark Burial Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Games with cool multi-purpose weapons are always intriguing so let's check out Dark Burial and its clever use of a crossbow.

Dark Burial screenshot
Who knew a crossbow could be so versatile?

In Dark Burial, you play as a little fellow who's armed with a crossbow that can only shoot one arrow at a time. Although you may think that it's primarily used for shooting enemies, it's actually used more in the platforming. Basically, you can shoot arrows into certain surfaces in order to create a new foothold which will help with crossing pits and scaling walls. There's a cool puzzle element as well because you'll come across various contraptions such as platforms that move whenever you shoot them so figuring out how to progress isn't always straightforward. Of course, there are enemies, too, which can be surprisingly aggressive and the bosses are quite fun and challenging to overcome. It may not be the most visually striking or exciting 2D platformer but it's definitely unique.

Dark Burial's clever use of its multi-purpose crossbow will have you carefully traversing its grueling world which is quite a fun thing to do.

Dark Burial gameplay video →
Gameplay video playlist for Retro-Inspired Indie Games (Part 6) 51:35
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