Retro Records Review

By Marc Saltzman |

If you fell asleep playing Tetris in a music store and had a dream, it might look something like Retro Records. In this fast-paced puzzle game, you find out your uncle left you a record store full of thousands of albums but everything is completely unorganized. So, in order to reopen to the public, you must put all the correct records in its proper album jacket.

Sound easy? Think again. While you’ll enjoy listening to music along the way, this is no easy feat. Here’s the scoop:

Your goal is to drag and drop album covers into one of three crates in the middle of the screen. You choose which one of the 15 available covers you need based on the photo displayed in the middle of the falling records. For example, if you see a picture of green grass in the middle of one of the record, you will see it match an album jacket on the right side of the screen, and you must let the record fall into this correct jacket. Problem is, you’ll have three records to match at any given time.

If you put the wrong album jacket in the column or if you let a record fall to the floor, it then breaks, which pushes the crate up a little towards the top of the screen (therefore making it more difficult to drag and drop the correct album jacket in time). Also making it harder to make a match is when records spin around in a clockwise fashion (or flip from A-side to B-side), both of which temporarily obstructs your view of the cover.

Bonus points are awarded for using one of the wild card "joker" power-ups, which looks like a turntable, not to mention you’ll hear some music playing once you do so. The genre of music you’ll hear is related to the album that fell onto this turntable power-up. Other power-ups need to be unlocked by playing well, such as a gold record that lines the outside of the album cover (when paired with the correct jacket, will remove one of the broken records in this column). Similarly, a "45 adaptor" can also be dragged and dropped onto a crate to remove a broken record. A platinum power-up will remove all broken records in that column. A clock power-up will temporarily slow down the falling records so you can catch your breath.

You can also collect rare records which go on your wall from the main menu screen.

Every few levels or so, a bonus mini-game plays out like "Memory" or "Concentration," where you must turn over albums from and correctly match two in a row from 16 face-down albums, in order to remove them from the board.

Music fans will enjoying hearing the audio tracks including rock, jazz, hip-hop, classical, country, reggae, techno and other genres. Most album covers are from little-known and/or independent bands, but it doesn’t take away from the fun. Oddly, the only familiar album – and it’s a biggie – is The Beatles’ White Album, which is odd to see since it’s so huge yet there aren’t any other popular bands in this game at all. From the main page you can click on your records (in the Inventory section) and in many cases it launches a website where you can buy the real CD. In other cases, it just takes you to the Retro Records website.

You can, if you choose, add your own album art if you’re willing to read some Amazon Listmania information on how to do it (regrettably, it’s not as easy as simply uploading a .jpg file).

While quite fun and fresh, the game can get difficult very quickly — but at least when you start a new game it remembers the rare records you found as well as give you access to unlocked power-ups. Also, there’s only one game mode, the graphics are average at best and because not all links take you to buy the CD when you click on it, Retro Records feels a bit unpolished, too (it is an independent game, after all).

But for music lovers in search of a fun – and frantic – arcade puzzle game will find Retro Records music to their ears.

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