A true classic never goes out of style, and that can certainly be said for the gaming industry. While the current market might thrive on the biggest and the newest technology, graphics, and capabilities, there are those games that still give fans that nostalgic hit, even if they’re new themselves.
These modern-style retro games have the benefit of no longer being limited by the hardware of older systems, letting developers bring retro titles into the modern era. The newly released Triangle Strategy embodies this ideal, placing the older Sprite characters onto 3D backgrounds, but they’re not the only ones who will make retro gamers feel like their passion has been brought into the 21st century.
10 Centipede: Recharged
Atari’s Centipede is an arcade classic that just about any retro-gamer can recognize, and it’s still an addictive experience to this day. Centipede: Recharged is what would happen if the original game had a baby with Tron, and the results are absolutely fantastic.
A good video game remake will always take what made the original great and improve on it, which is exactly what this revitalized title sets out to do. Similar to games like Pac-Man: Championship Edition, it gives an old title a new coat of paint with some new mechanics and various ways to play. It might look and play in a similar fashion, but new powerups, boards, and abilities breathe new life into a beloved favorite.
9 Blazing Chrome
There are plenty of run-and-gun titles that take heavy inspiration from Contra, but few feel as over-the-top as Blazing Chrome. Taking excessively heavy influence from games like Contra IV and the Metal Slug series, the game is a gloriously gratuitous action title that feels like it was ripped straight out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
It follows near-identical mechanics to Contra, utilizing one-hit kills and exceptional difficulty, but continues are unlimited and there’s a healthy stock of powerups and weapons to at least give the player a sporting chance. It’s designed for those used to the “Nintendo-hard” games of the early console days.
8 Project Warlock
There was a time when FPS games were simply called “Doom Clones,” but Project Warlock feels like a more literal example of that term. In a blend of retro-shooter and dark fantasy, the game sees the player in the robes of the titular warlock who must use a mix of spells and automatic weapons to blast through demonic and undead threats.
Simply put, this is a game for Doom fans who like their shooters with a side of cyberpunk fantasy. The visuals are like something out of an early PC or SNES title, and the gameplay and feel could be compared to the original Doom or even Wolfenstein 3D. Either way, FPS vets will feel right at home.
7 Ion Fury
If Project Warlock could be considered a Doom Clone, then Ion Fury could be considered a love letter to Duke Nukem 3D. Although its graphics are a step up from the previously mentioned title, it’s a shooter made for gamers who grew up with the original classics.
It’s a difficult yet addictive experience and the love for the genre is keenly felt throughout the title, and there is even a hand full of easter eggs to vintage titles tossed in for good measure.
6 I Am Setsuna
Despite its colorful, anime-inspired appearance, I Am Setsuna is a JRPG that comes with an unexpectedly dark storyline involving human sacrifice and complex characters. However, it also draws heavy influence from games like Chrono Trigger which fans of the genre will greatly appreciate.
Turn-based RPGs are certainly a plentiful species, but the combat seen in this title helps it stand out from the others available for download. It’s certainly a breath of fresh air for those longing for the days of the ’90s.
If the graphics were slightly less-polished, CrossCode could easily pass for an original on the SNES. In a mix of Zelda and Sword Art Online, the game is a top-down adventure set in a cyber-punk virtual world that anyone with experience in the genre will devour. While the 16-bit visuals might be charming, they’re hiding a much deeper gaming experience.
There’s a brilliant and complex narrative surrounding the game’s robotic protagonist. In a tale of lost memories, dungeons, and puzzles, it’s practically a Zelda fan’s dream come true.
4 Blossom Tales
Where games like CrossCode pay homage to games like Zelda, Blossom Tales is a direct callback to A Link To The Past. In a way, the game could be considered what would happen if Link and Zelda swapped roles and the titular princess took up the sword and shield. Needless to say, the results are enjoyable yet familiar.
If players can play any of the traditional Zelda titles, they can play Blossom Tales. It’s this dedication to the traditional top-down adventure formula that will win over any seasoned retro-gamer, and the dedication to the motifs is brilliantly blatant.
3 Bloodstained Series
Modern Metroidvanias are a dime a dozen, but the Bloodstained games are anything but subtle as they are clearly the modern spiritual successors to the Castlevania games, particularly III and Symphony of the Night.
Ritual of the Night and its spinoffs were all produced by Koji Igarashi, one of Castlevania’s original developers, and he brought more than a few elements over from his previous work. While its influences are worn loud and proud on its sleeves, fans of the genre won’t mind in the slightest.
2 Battle Axe
Battle Axe is one of the most brilliant examples of a modern retro game. With its gameplay inspired by Gauntlet and Zombies Ate My Neighbors, 16-bit graphics, and ’90s arcade designs, the game is practically the ideal cocktail of elements for a modern classic.
Like most traditional dungeon-crawlers, players have their pick of characters all with different abilities and specialties and are sent on a quest in a fantasy world full of monsters and minions. Unlike dungeon-crawlers, however, they also have to save a certain number of NPCs and beat their times to get the best score. It’s not overly complex, nor is it unbalanced. It’s pure arcade action through and through.
1 Shovel Knight
When it comes to paying tribute to classic games of the retro eras, Yacht Club’s Shovel Knight gets gold stars all across the board. Taking heavy influence from classic platformers like Mario Bros. 3, Mega Man, and even Disney’s Ducktales, it has everything a player could possibly need from a traditional title.
Every creative decision in the game can be traced to some vintage title, even down to the weapons and powerups Shovel Knight uses to rescue his beloved Shield Knight. Simply put, it’s a modern retro game made for retro gamers, and the love and care that went into creating it is keenly felt with every playthrough.
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