It’s time to take a dip back into that special zone, that place that thrives on the sexiness of all things retro-inspired, indie and downright cool…Of course, I’m chattin’ about The Portal here at RetroGameGeeks! So come with me (Olly023), I’ll take your hand in a totally not creepy way and we can float through the magic together, retrobates…
This go round, I’ll be linking back to a prior Portal visit, no less, as this review is the full-fledged follow up to an early interview/article with an #indiedev known as Monster Finger Games. Yes, those mad appendages! We here at RGG have been closely following the development of the game up for review here, but best belie’ as always, you can trust in us. No bias, no matter how hard it may be! As you may well be able to tell from the dev thread over on the Forum, Rosse has been filling the RGGers in every step of the way in the creation of Super Renegade Response, the trials and tribulations, the highs and lows and eventual release. It only makes sense that we hop all over a review in return, so here is.
Super Renegade Response is an Ouya exclusive released ahead of initial schedule on the 15th August 2014, so that means it’s AVAILABLE NOW for all those interested. Well, at least those interested who own a Ouya, as you’re a bit out of luck otherwise (what with the exclusivity and all). Perhaps there could be ports in the future? I’m sure enough bugging of MFG could get it done. Just don’t tell ‘em Olly023 sent you. I DID NOTHING!
The game itself is a top down driving game with an out and out cool 80’s vibe, packed with nostalgic iconography that’ll either fill you with glee as a retrobate, or have you tearing your hair out if you can’t stand that particular decade. But if that’s the case, you’re probably on the wrong site, to be fair. Alas, you get a chance to step into the undoubtedly expensive shoes (without socks, Don Johnson-style) of Tony Renegade, the title’s protagonist. Your (multiple) missions are to avoid traffic, collect power ups, speed to your heart’s content and pop off some bosses along the way.
Right from the off, MFG make no bones about what SRR is. It’s fun. That’s what it’s meant to be, that’s what it is and it’s immediately exemplified by the sweet tuneage playing while the start-up visual of a Crockett-a-like (totally not Crockett, shh) leaning against a non-descript, quite obviously German sports car while a bikini babe lays on top, all in black silhouette; backed by the deep pastel tones. Personally? Love it. Then again, Miami Vice is my all-time favourite show, so y’know! Before delving into the core of the gameplay, you get a choice of two possible control types, one with less buttons making life easier for those more accustomed to a Master System controller, all on a menu screen that features a dashboard with an OUYA branded steering wheel. Glorious.
The gameplay itself is nothing too ground-breaking, not that it (I feel, at least) intends to be, rather acting as an easy to pick up n’ play, difficult to truly master throwback to the days of the original Spyhunter and co. What it does do however, it does well. MFG have crafted a very smooth playing piece of game design. The steering is responsive, being neither too harsh nor soft in the process, and button presses are timed to perfection. Handling is the most important factor of any driving game, so I am pleased to be able to say that yes, it handles good n’ proper, taking mere seconds for a player to adjust. Major props on that point, for sure.
It’s very arcade like in the clearest sense. You’re racing against the clock as you seek to take out the baddies and avoid civilian vehicles. What you are really chasing, of course, is the high score. Which as it stands (from what I can tell), is entirely local. Perhaps additional online scoreboards would be a nice touch for a future update as an easier way to brag to your mates.
Graphically speaking SRR has an art style very close to the hearts of the co-founders of this site, as for both me and Megatron it instantly induces feelings of a Master System release (making those earlier control options all the more relevant!), which is instantly going to gain applause from us, as typically it’s that NES-style that gets all the love, when everybody knows Sega’s 8-bit systems where it’s at! The pixel art is absolutely glorious, with some really nice use of shading to create that faux-realism we all want from a pretty little sprite. It’s definitely old school, in all the right areas.
In addition to the main sprites, etc. you will witness trains crossing tracks, trucks with ramps for you to fly off Dukes-style and planes flying overhead, which all act as genuine distractions as well as showing off a bit of skill in terms of fleshing out the world of Super Renegade Response.
The car itself is obviously a police-themed 911, but much like with the early top-down GTA titles, etc. – don’t expect a licensed vehicle. To combine with the slice of 80’s automobile greatness, is a whole host of collectables and references littering the levels, many being blink and you miss ‘em, but will create a knowing smirk any time noticed. When a game has power-ups such as Rubik’s Cubes, you instantly have a solid idea of what direction Super Renegade Response is heading in and one already mentioned in this review. FUN TIMES! You can also catch RGG billboards, too – so if that can count as a section, that’d be 10/10. Standard. This is a homage from the heart and it shows, you can feel it as the neon seeps from your set.
When I first got hands-on with SRR, it lacked any sound effects. However, they’re now very present in the completed game. From the amusing voice over’s (such as the openings from HQ, filling you in on who you’re chasing down), to the woman’s voice calling out “RAD” following an item collection. The crash sound is also blimmin’ brutal sounding and makes you shudder at the thought of the expenses you’ve just racked up for your department. Crazy Tony. Musically it sounds wonderful, too – if a tad repetitive. There’s just something about the theme that gets me going. It’s pure video game cruising music and just adds to the experience. Do like.
As it stands, though – there are some bugs that are awaiting fixes, bugs that were made specifically aware to me by the developers themselves. So, do keep that in mind. They have however confirmed that a big update will be coming in September 2014 (and may already be out, depending when you read this) and with this being a labour of love, slack I feel can be cut and I know that Monster Finger will more than likely continue adding to and improving the game over time, refining and refining again. Why? They’ve come this far, baby. Aint no stoppin’ ‘em now!
Bottom line, I was overjoyed to finally get a chance to play the release version of Super Renegade Response, after months of patience and anxious waiting. It’s a brilliant little game on a brilliant little console by some brilliant people who deserve your love. In my opinion, of course. Overall it’s far from a perfect game, but the positives are enough to outweigh the negatives and if you’re a fan of the genre or just want some crazy 80’s nostalgia wrapped in an indie bow, then you’d be silly to not give this a run ‘round.
Overall 7.5 out of 10
Verdict:- As much as I love it on a personal level and right rated it highly on the overall design, I do take into account that it is not a perfect game (but, what is?), yet acts superbly well as a loving homage to a time gone by, which is what RGG is all about.
If you are not a massive fan of the genre, I can see the repetitive arcade nature to be wearing, or perhaps even daunting. If high score titles aren’t for you or if you explicitly stick to shooters and platformers, the amount you’ll get back will be decidedly less.
However, I do personally love every minute of it and want to commend Monster Finger Games on a fantastic start to what is sure to be a fantastic run in the world of retro-inspired indie games.
A highly recommended play for fans of the genre and style, perhaps a slightly more middle-grounded approach for those unsure. But what’s life without risks? It’s the Tony Renegade way! Too hot for TV, indeed!
Second Opinion:- This is exactly the kind of game that rarely gets made in this day and age, so it's a testament to MFG that it even got made in the first place. But that sort of suggests as to why it was a perfect option for Ouya owners, the little system that could, yet in the eyes of the mainstream didn't.
Super Renegade Response comes as recommended for those looking for some top down fun and a throwback to a simpler, yet arguably more exciting time. Transbot was born in the 80s, too.
Transbot Scores:- 7 out of 10