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Retro/Grade takes an innovative take on a dying genre

At this point it seemed like we had seen it all when it comes to side-scrolling shooters, better known as shmups amongst the fans. We’ve encountered a variety of shmups like Einhander, R-Type and Ikaruga all of which have their own unique style and most importantly have unique game mechanics that make them a blast to play. It’s a bit of a shame that the shump genre is a bit of a dying breed this gen with only a small amount of titles appearing on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade so far. However shmup fans should take note that a very unique and interesting title has just been announced for the PSN which will surely get the attention of the genre enthusiasts.

At first glance the newly announced Retro/Grade may look like a fairly average game. It has nice visuals and art design along with the straightforward space backdrop. But when you see the game in motion and find out what the main gameplay mechanic is that’s where the mind explosion moment will happen. You see Retro/Grade is unlike any other schmup released so far and as a whole is unlike any other game released as the entire game is played in reverse.  By playing the game in reverse I don’t mean you merely start at the end of the level facing off against the boss and ultimately find yourself battling the simple underlings. Instead in Retro/Grade you’ll still have to dodge enemy fire except that the shots are going back towards the enemy ships instead of towards you. The same goes for the shots you fire as in order to successfully hit a target you need to get in the proper lane that your shot was fired from and hit the fire button at the appropriate time. It may sound like a bit much but once you see it in action in the video below any reservations you may have about the game will be pushed away.

The reversed time mechanic isn’t where the uniqueness of Retro/Grade ends as players can also play the game by using a guitar controller.  Yup, you can plug in your Guitar Hero or Rock Band controller and enjoy some shmup goodness. Using a guitar controller may sound a bit odd but players can move their ship by using the fret buttons while the strum bar acts as the fire button. Once again this is something that may sound odd at first but when you see an example of it in the video it looks quite good and it offers a very interesting way to play the game.

So far Retro/Grade looks to be an amazing addition to the PSN and it’s even more amazing that this is the first game from developer 24 Caret Games. Right now pricing and release information for Retro/Grade has yet to be announced but like many I’m going to be paying close attention to the updates for this game.

[Via PlayStation Blog]