After making its way to pretty much every other modern platform imaginable, Retro City Rampage DX is finally getting its turn on mobile. Does it hold up well on touch screens? Will it be able to sway those who (somehow) haven’t played it before? Is it worth getting if you already own it on PC/console/handheld?
The answer to all these questions, and several you probably don’t particularly care about, is an emphatic “Get out of the car or I’ll throw you out!”
For the six or seven people who might not have heard of Retro City Rampage, it’s basically a love letter to video games, cartoons, movies, comic books, and just about anything else that can be considered “nerdy.” On the surface it has the general look and feel of one of the earlier Grand Theft Auto games that were played from a top-down perspective, but it’s loaded (LOADED) with in-jokes, pop culture references, and extras.
The story mode follows Player One as he goes around Retro City causing all sorts of mayhem because he’s a greedy, terrible person. As with most open-world games it essentially boils down to taking on story and side missions for cash and the occasional unlocks, with plenty of random point-chasing acts of violence thrown in for good measure. But what makes Retro City Rampage DX stand out from the crowd of “me too” GTA wannabes is its sense of humor.
Virtually every pixelated inch of the game includes some sort of nod to something – The A Team, Back to the Future, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Meat Boy, the band Devo, etc. And the fact that there’s so much of it everywhere actually makes it feel more cohesive, rather than seeming like a huge mess.
As for the mobile port itself, well, it’s Retro City Rampage DX. It’s the same game it was on consoles, PC, and handhelds but now you can play it on your phone and use touch controls. All the mini-games, visual character customizations, secrets, and so on are present and accounted for. I sometimes take issue with the checkpoint placement during missions (i.e. having to play through tough sections a bit too often), which is a holdover from the original release, but eh. It’s tough to stay mad at a game this unabashedly silly and fun.
I was expecting to want to knock the touch controls (because mobile port, and I’m a realist), but they honestly work really well. The virtual buttons are in easy-to-reach spots and don’t block the action much, the contextual commands are easy to intuit, and even more complex actions like taking cover or stomping on heads are a cinch to pull off.
I’m still not a big fan of the driving, though, which isn’t really a fault of the touch controls. The game feels like it’s been intentionally designed so that you’ll plow into pedestrians and other vehicles no matter how careful you’re trying to be. It sometimes makes getting from Point A to Point B a little bothersome when you always have the police chasing after you, but it does fit with the almost arcade-like nature of the gameplay. Plus it’s fairly easy to duck down an alley, find a power-up that makes you invisible to the police, and give them the slip.
If you’ve never played Retro City Rampage (DX or otherwise), this is as good a place as any to start. Heck, if you already have it on a computer or console it’s not a bad get either, since you’ll be able to enjoy all the goofy anarchy on the go.