Review: Retro Game Challenge

Remember the days of sitting around a friend’s television playing the newest game together? XSEED’s Retro Game Challenge captures this nostalgia perfectly.

Loosely based off the Japanese television show GameCenter CX, Retro Game Challenge traps the player in the 1980’s, where he or she is forced to overcome classic gaming challenges.  These challenges range anywhere from racking up a certain number of points to completing a level without taking any damage.  The player is assisted in completing these tasks by reading the game manuals (yeah, apparently people used to read these!), or by reading issues of the fake gaming magazine GameFan.

Your antagonist, ladies and gentlemen!
Your antagonist, ladies and gentlemen!

Each of the eight games in Retro Game Challenge are like alternate versions of real 8-bit games, and they liberally “borrow” various aspects from each of the games.  There is a space shooter called Cosmic Gate based off Galaga, a Ninja Gaiden-like game called Robot Ninja Haggle Man, and even a Dragon Quest epic RPG called Guardia Quest.  Each game is not made up of just the challenges, when the player finishes each of the four challenges for a game, that game is then unlocked so the player can fully play through it.  Each of the games does a perfect job mimicking their real-life counter part, even down to the bad translations in the game text.

A major part of the fun of this game is the little details the localization staff put into it.  Each GameFan magazine has a cheat code section, tips and tricks for the “newest” game releases, and previews of upcoming games.  The issues even end with an editor’s page, featuring the picture of real life game journalists like John Davison and Dan Hsu.

A downfall of the game is the lack of variety across the classic gaming years.  The eight included in Retro Game Challenge seem to all be based off the early 8-bit days.  Potential players may also be turned away by the lack of back story to the game’s franchise.  The television show the game is based off is only briefly mentioned in the opening cinema of the game, and on the back of the manual inside the game’s box.

With tight controls, games almost spot-on with their classic counter-parts, and fun “homages” to the classic gaming era, Retro Game Challenge is perfect for anyone looking for a set of gaming challenges that will remind them of past times.


  1. I’ve been wanting to get this! It seem like the kinda game I would love.

  2. I still don’t know what to make of this game, but it certainly looks interesting.

  3. XSeed has been doing a lot of good work lately. I’m pleased to see that RGC is being received well even though I won’t be picking it up myself–it shows the quality is still there and they’re still dedicated to producing solid gaming experiences.

  4. To be fair, some of the very earliest post-NES gameplay is represented here with Star Prince, which resembles Blazing Lazers (TurboGrafx). However, this was about the 80s, and as the Megadrive/Genesis wouldn’t hit till 89/90, they’re probably better off saving the 16-bit era for a sequel.