The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best” thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
Vblank Entertainment’s Retro City Rampage made its initial splash in the fall of 2012, and has been ported to practically every platform under the sun since then. I’ve always wondered why it never made it to iOS as it seemed like it would be a great fit for the platform. Well, without much warning, Retro City Rampage DX [appprice url=”($4.99)“], an enhanced edition of the original game, finally arrived on the App Store this week. While initially excited for an “8-bit Grand Theft Auto!” it didn’t take long for me to realize that Retro City Rampage DX is so, so much more than that, and even in my short time with it so far this is some of the most fun I’ve had with an iOS game.
Calling RCRDX an “8-bit GTA” isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s top-down like the original GTA games and provides a fairly large open world where you can either choose to do specific missions or simply run around causing mayhem. I’d actually say this game is more conducive to mayhem than GTA, as the police presence isn’t quite as tenacious here and there’s a ton of leeway to the driving in the game. In GTA it’s generally advisable to avoid crashing into large obstacles or other cars, but in RCRDX it’s almost like bumper cars and you have the toughest car around as you can pretty easily smash other traffic and pedestrians out of your way. Like GTA, it’s a lot of fun simply driving around the city with no real goal in mind.
While RCRDX is a competent GTA-like in the core areas, the thing that really sets it apart and makes it so much fun is its staggering amount of homages to various video games, movies, pop culture, and tons more. This is more or less a giant love letter to anyone who grew up in the ’80s, and unlike some games where the references feel forced, they’re woven into RCRDX so genuinely and humorously that it’s hard not to play the game without a giant, stupid grin on your face. The game is also completely absurd, and often crosses streams with its references, like BioniCop who is an unholy mix of the guy from Bionic Commando and Robocop because… sure, why not!
Besides the wonderful nostalgia trip in RCRDX, it’s also an impressively detailed world for a game that was designed like an NES game. The world itself is large, and even has a working subway system to help you get around. See a shopping cart in a parking lot? Hop in it and drive it around just like you were driving a car. There’s also an arcade and several spots where there are games within the game. Full-blown mini-games featuring Super Meatboy, Bit.Trip.Run, and the dudes from Epic Meal Time are fun distractions that are good games in their own right.
However, the inclusion of Rom City Rampage is by far one of the most mind-blowing parts of RCRDX. It’s an actual prototype of the game which Vblank built for actual NES hardware, and it runs within an emulator inside RCRDX. It’s unfinished and merely a prototype, but it’s a surprisingly full-featured game which allows you to run around, shoot people, get chased by cops, and steal any car you come across. When I came across Rom City Rampage for the first time I was in shock as I was literally playing a game within a game and exploring that tiny world inside of the already tiny world of RCRDX was just too much fun to handle.
I’ve admired Retro City Rampage from afar for years, and heck, I even own the game on 3DS though I’ve never fired it up for more than 5 minutes. After experiencing the iOS version, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to realize what a fantastic little game this is. I should have been playing this years ago, but I’m happy I finally joined the party and I’m thrilled that Retro City Rampage DX is now on my favorite gaming platform.