Retro/Grade’s Backwards Battle Begins Today

Hello PlayStation.Blog readers! Firstly, if you aren’t familiar with Retro/Grade, check out our previous post for an explanation about how fighting battles backwards works. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Now that you’re all caught up, we can get started. It’s been a long journey since our first post about Retro/Grade over on the US PS.Blog over three years ago. We’ve worked very hard creating the best game we possibly can since then — if you saw the three year old screenshots, you’ll notice that it’s barely recognisable as the polished product you see today. Besides all the visual polish we added — like jaw-dropping effects and full HD 1080p rendering at 60 frames-per-second with anti-aliasing — we’ve added a ton of content.

Retro/Grade on PSN - Challenge Mode

Although we have a campaign mode, challenge mode is really the star of Retro/Grade. It’s where the real meat of the game lies. In challenge mode, you are presented with a galaxy map, and you go through playing various challenges that are based on the campaign levels, but with various twists and rule changes. For example, in some of the challenges, the music is sped up, which naturally makes completing the level more difficult. We also have challenges that require you to reach certain score targets, have trickier patterns, and plenty more! There are 130 challenges spanning a map filled with secret paths, warps, and rewards.

What kind of rewards, you ask? All sorts! We have cheats that turn on fun gameplay features like big heads, disco lighting, a film noir look, and more. We also have 11 unlockable ships, some of which feature characters from other indie games like Meat Boy, Minecraft, Octodad, and Go Home Dinosaurs. We also reward you by unlocking tracks in the music player. While that may not sound too interesting (especially if you bought the soundtrack), our music player is set up like a DJ deck with two turntables, which means you can scratch and mix the unlocked sounds to your heart’s content!

Retro/Grade on PSN - Meat Boy Retro/Grade on PSN - Octodad

If challenge mode doesn’t sound like it interests you, campaign mode will keep you coming back for more. You can compete on one of our many leaderboards for the different songs and modes — don’t worry, we have separate leaderboards for guitar and DualShock controllers, just in case you feel that one control scheme has an advantage.

Retro/Grade is available today for £7.99/€9.99/AU$15.95, or in a bundle with the soundtrack for £10.99/€13.99/AU$21.95. We have a demo available, so if you’re not yet completely sold on this reverse-shooter, now is your chance to try it out! Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you on the leaderboards!

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20 Comments 6 Author replies
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Silent_Gig 22 August, 2012 @ 12:34 pm   1

Ive been playing the US demo and i cant get enough of this! Its a brilliant take on shooters and the music is just delicious!

Hats off to everyone who made this game, you did a amazing job here!

Silent_Gig 22 August, 2012 @ 12:36 pm   2

It should be FREE with PSplus too today right?
As listed here


This game looks fun and interesting so I’m definitely going to give it a try today. Also after reading the US blog and people bashing it, I for one like the idea of having characters from other indie games so I’m glad 24 Caret Games and Matt put Meat boy and others in it. If the gameplay is enjoyable as the videos make it seem to be then this game deserves to do well and hopefully we will see other games from this indie team.

Odd people, asking questions where they already know the official answer. 😉
Yeah, it is free for Plus subscribers. Ross alone has said it at least 4-5 times since June.


Tried the demo i think it’s repetitive moving between the 3 spaces over and over.

    Matt Gilgenbach 22 August, 2012 @ 4:54 pm    

    We have harder difficulties that feature up to 5 lanes, so perhaps you might enjoy them more?

chrisboers 22 August, 2012 @ 1:08 pm   7

So, the battle actually ENDS today (and then goes back) 🙂

Looking forward to get this one as PS Plus member!


I’m looking forward to this as I love flyie shootie games ever since I put my first quarter into a Defender game

Fred Dutton 22 August, 2012 @ 1:18 pm   9

Hey all. Matt from 24 Caret should be along later this afternoon to answer questions, so please fire away if you have any.

Carnivius_Prime 22 August, 2012 @ 1:30 pm   10

Tried the US store demo and it seems more of a rhythm game than a shoot ’em up. Not really my kind of thing but I have a friend who’s played all his guitar hero games to death who I’m sure would enjoy this too.

    Matt Gilgenbach 22 August, 2012 @ 4:54 pm    

    It is definitely a rhythm game at its core, so if you aren’t a fan of rhythm games, then it may not interest you.

Silent_Gig 22 August, 2012 @ 1:30 pm   11

Hey Matt, ill kick off the questions with a basic one.

Where did you get the idea for a reversed musical shoot em up and how did you go about figuring out the balance between compelling gameplay and engaing music?

What type of musical genres did you experiment with or was techno/trans always the idea from day one?

    Matt Gilgenbach 22 August, 2012 @ 4:57 pm    

    We came up with the idea of having a game played in reverse first. Then we tried to figure out what sort of game would work when time is flowing backwards. A rhythm game seemed like the best fit because then you can have clues to the timing of your previous actions.

    We worked very closely with the composer and went back and forth after designing a pattern around the music, playing it, and then seeing what adjustments we could make to the music to improve the gameplay.

    We wanted something that felt like chiptunes but didn’t have the rough sound since I think bleeps and squawks in 7.1 might b e a little grating after a while. It took us a little time to figure out the sound we wanted, but we were quite happy with the results.



I like rhythm games as well so either way its win win


Looking forward to trying this. Seems a touch expensive but if it’s free on Plus then there’s no excuse not to enjoy it 😉

Silent_Gig 22 August, 2012 @ 5:11 pm   14

Thanks for the feedback there Matt, its games like these that make me gush for game development.

Just one more question if you dont mind, How hard was is it to create a rhytm game? It seems rhymthic games are seeing a little resurgance lately with SoundShapes and Dyad to name a few. Im wondering if theres something big coming because i love music/game synergy.

Im playing Retro/Grade right now and i really cant get enough of it!
I would love to see this idea expanded upon with different musical genres, i think that would really take the action to a different place.

I know im falling into the trap here when i say this but i really cant wait to see what you come up with next!

Thanks for coming on down to the eu blog Matt.

    Matt Gilgenbach 22 August, 2012 @ 5:24 pm    

    Rhythm games are easier than something like a 3D action/adventure, but I wouldn’t say they are easier than a 2D platformer or something like that. The nice part about rhythm games is that you have a limited amount of input. The player is restricted and can’t get in weird situations with collisions and all that.

    The difficulty of doing a rhythm game is keeping everything in sync. No matter how high quality your timers are, they can drift. We have a melody and a background track in Retro/Grade, and we have to constantly monitor that all the timers are where they think they are or we have to adjust the music time to prevent drift. We do this all behind the scenes, so it seems like everything matches up, but it was a fair amount of work to get it all to play correctly.

    In addition, with the immense lag introduced by a lot of HDTV and sound systems, we have to ensure the game could run okay without people bothering to calibrate, which affected what we could do in the game design. In general, we had to make the timing windows significantly larger than some older games like Parappa the Rappa. If you go back and play Parappa on a modern TV, it’s pretty much impossible. 🙁


This works on Remote Play with Vita! I was surprised when it worked but its good to see. It feels good on vita and i know people have been asking for a vita version. this may keep them happy for a while.


also now i know why i suck at parappa.

Psy-D-13 24 August, 2012 @ 7:13 pm   17

Sorry to say that but I am quite dissapointed with the game. Although I like both shmups and rhythm games I didn’t enjoy this at all. This is a simple rhythm game with shmup esthetics pasted on top. The strength and weakness of a rhythm game is it’s music. In this game you have a soundtrack of 10 songs which, I think, all sound the same and non of them is something I would listen to outside of the game. Also, the patterns are repetitive and are not fun.

As for the shmup part, the reason why I play shmups is to shoot stuff and see it explode. Here you are moving backwards and un-shoot your shots instead. I think this game would be much more enjoyable if it moved forward and instead of collecting shots you shoot ’em.

Also the game is too easy and too slow. I wish there where an option to adjust the speed. The levels seems to drag on forever. I’m glad I didn’t buy it as I got it for free through psn plus. Thank you psn plus!

fps_d0minat0r 25 August, 2012 @ 5:15 pm   18

not my kind of game but i might play it anyway for the trophies. hope they are not too hard.
just got PS+ this month and so far im impressed….just hate waiting for them to download (yup you guessed it, UK internet).
….downloading infamous 2 now….15 gigs -.-

jonny_hart_digit 25 August, 2012 @ 8:21 pm   19

anon all for this. hate the guitar dj hero stuff. this is that electrodes need. Trax and Rad visuals. not keen on the music however. bit gougy. for me it needs less molody and more groove. is like to play it with some vitalic or Dave clarke.

pietro__pan 27 August, 2012 @ 9:31 pm   20

cool game is a must by!!!!