Game Reviews

Retro Cave Flyer

Star onStar onStar halfStar offStar off
Retro Cave Flyer

Memories turn the most mundane things magical. Whether its remembering a cold soda on a summer's day as particularly refreshing or an obsession with some classic game, our memories tend to see history through rose-coloured glasses.

As a kid, french fries dipped in ice cream was treat; now, it's a treat to avoid them. The magical memory of deliciousness has been replaced by the real threat of a heart attack.

Retro Cave Flyer tugs on the strings of nostalgia, hoping to cast a spell with its revised arcade play. No risk of cardiac arrest here, although the chance of being entertained is equally negligible.

Unabashedly borrowing from Atari's 1979 Lunar Lander, Retro attempts to revitalise that early standard with new controls and visuals.

Your objective lies in guiding a small spacecraft through a maze of two-dimensional caves to pick up scientists patiently awaiting rescue. Completing the game's missions means boarding all the scientists stranded at each location.

From the Earth's moon to Neptune, you manoeuvre the lander by tipping your handset. Tapping the screen allows you to boost, propelling your lander in whatever direction you tilt your handset.

What sounds intuitive is actually annoyingly unbalanced. Retro inherits not only the premise, but unsophisticated controls of its predecessor. Small tips and tiny taps yield virtually no movement from your craft, yet a lengthy touch of the screen sends it flying into a wall.

The game has purposefully been designed this way: navigation is meant to be a challenge. Unfortunately, this sort of planned tedium makes it a drag too.

There's a time limit for each stage, by the way, which further highlights imbalances in the design. Generous checkpoints do offer relief from any deaths you encounter in your journey, but having a time limit is utterly redundant.

Retro is hard enough without a ticking clock - why does it need an additional layer of unnecessary challenge?

Issues with how the lander moves contributes the bulk of the game's problems, yet questionable level design plays a part as well.

Caves walls are drawn in such way that makes navigation difficult. Paths are frequently so small that making it through seems like a miracle. The levels need to be challenging, but Retro goes too far with stages that are frustrating.

No matter how snazzy the graphics, you won't enjoy them if you're aggravated. There's nothing magical about Retro's tedious twist on nostalgia. The concept holds more allure than the execution, yet even the origin of this disappointing excursion is questionable.

Retro Cave Flyer

Retro Cave Flyer revives an antiquated game for an experience devoid of fun