March 5, 2014 7:30 AM | Anthony Swinnich
As an avid NES fan, I went into Retro Game Crunch with high hopes. Seven titles that looked straight out of the 1980s seemed too good to be true, and for the most part they left me satisfied with what they had to offer. These games aren't quite as fleshed out as actual old school Nintendo offerings, but they're diverse and creative enough to recommend to anyone with a penchant for pixels.
Leading off with what might be the best of the bunch, Super Clew Land is a platformer where you start off with no abilities, and evolve what you can do through a color-matching minigame after eating worms and other bugs. These abilities eventually allow you to explore the world, which opens up into a wonderful explorative experience. The final segment is difficult in a way that's authentic to the time period it's miming.
I didn't care as much for End Of Line, a puzzle game where your goal is to stop the robots around you from automatically repairing themselves. Once the single-screen level is devoid of other AI, you can then take your own life as there are none left to put you back together. It plays decently, but it didn't click with me partially due to the lack of any explanation about what you're supposed to be doing.
Shūten, on the other hand, is an awesome top-down shooter with a samurai aesthetic. The cool thing about it is that you can steal the attacks of your enemies. It was pretty cool to have homing arrows, then switch to ninja stars that fire forward as well as backward. Plus, it supports co-op play, which is always a nice touch.
The true multiplayer star of the group, however, is GAIAttack!. It's a one-to-four player platform-brawler that scrolls from the bottom of the screen up. As you climb through the level, enemies rush toward you. Whether you punch or jump on their head, just know that it's kill or be killed, as the Sky Pirates you're chasing are in real need of defeat.
Brains & Hearts is a two-player card game that I didn't really understand after my attempt to play against the computer. It seemed a little too complicated, but then these types of games usually aren't my style. The game tries its best to explain itself but I couldn't quite get a handle on what was going on. Maybe it would click better after another attempt or if I tried to figure it out with another person.
If Super Clew Land isn't the best game in the bunch, then it's possible the crown goes to Paradox Lost. This one is a time-travelling metroidvania with a gun that literally shoots time travel. There seemed to be a ton of upgrades hidden throughout the game's three eras, as illustrated by the empty slots in the map screen.
Last but not least we have Wub-Wub Rescue, which is sadly not an attempt to save us from the dubstep menace. Instead it is a Donkey Kong-style platformer in which a dog must try to save his master from what appear to be jungle cannibals.
It's hard not to recommend Retro Game Crunch. Five of the games are home runs that I would have bought if they were offered as stand-alone products, and the two that didn't interest me are still well designed and might be up someone else's alley. It's available on Windows and Mac and can be bought at the official website for $12, though the price will eventually raise to $15.