September 29, 2019

Andreas Betsche

Quick Review: Retrograde Arena

September 29, 2019 | Andreas Betsche

Some games are easy to learn and easy to play. Then, there are games that are easy to learn but hard to master. And then, there is Retrograde Arena by Indonesian team Freemergency.

At first, this looks super easy but wait until the first round of this hardcore multiplayer shooter to teach you that everything you’ve learned about games is nothing compared to this. Retrograde Arena is basically a super stylish arena twin-stick shooter for up to six players. Collect weapons and eliminate the opponent. The tricky part is that the controls and the environment are far more of a threat: all weapons have significant recoil, pushing you backwards. This makes movement interestingly complex: you constantly have to decide whether to shoot the enemy or to use the weapons blow-back to navigate. And precise navigation is key to Retrograde Arena. The tiny arenas have narrow corridors with three types of walls: red is instant deadly, yellow is bouncy and blue is neutral. This results in extremely fast-paced and chaotic matches, requiring the player to both manage a reverse movement within small spaces while at the same time avoiding enemy fire and touching the red walls. Anticipating your own movement of and your foe’s is the key to success in Retrograde Arena.

Shouldn’t you be afraid of a very steep learning curve (yes, there are tutorials) and looking for a fun multiplayer experience in retro stylish 80s looks, then we can fully recommend checking out Retrograde Arena. There is a demo on Steam to test your mettle before the game releases in late 2019.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a free review copy kindly provided by developer Freemergency.

Andreas Betsche

Andreas Betsche founded Virtual SEA in early 2016 after researching Cambodian mobile games for his Master’s thesis. He has a background in Southeast Asia studies and has worked and lived in Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Since he has been actively playing games since the early 90s, combing both worlds in Virtual SEA brought together both of his passions.

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