Retro Pocket – Back to the First Handhelds

UFO’s Retro Pocket turns your 3DS into the classic, LED games of the 80’s

Retro Pocket is a set of eight games harkening back to the days of LED handheld games.  Released by UFO Interactive Games on September 20th, each game features an “A GAME” and “B GAME” level of play, high scores, and retro-style music.  Just as you used to tilt your old games into the sunlight to try and see every option, Retro Pocket allows you to “see” every move in each game in a light gray.  Each game features a multi-colored background layer, solid gray background, with all action and scores in solid black.

Retro Pocket - fireman - all that gaming stuffThere are eight games available: Fireman, Whale Escape, Candy Factory, Kung Fu Hero, Fuel Drop, Postman, Watch Your Head, and Egg Drop.  Each game is single player.  You get to see the directions after you suffer four deaths.  For those of you that used to try and find the little piece of printed instructions long after you opened an LED game, this will feel very familiar.  For those of us that read the directions first, and like knowing how to play instead of guessing, it can be a little frustrating.  Some of the games are intuitive; others less so.  They become progressively more intuitive as you play through them and can guess ahead what the developers had in mind.  Each game has a single, five-digit high score prominently displayed at the top center of the play screen.  The top 3D screen is not used for more than the game’s logo.  While this matches the theme of a retro, LED-based game, it seems like a missed opportunity for additional graphics or features. The stylus is also not used, as each game has a couple of simple moves that the control pad and a button or two easily cover.

In Fireman, the objective is to spray water on the fires while simultaneously making sure the string of women leaping from either side of the building don’t crash into the wrought iron railings.  Though, admittedly, it is fun to let the occasional girl fall in order to hear the ambulance siren go off.  Your character can send water into any of the four columns of windows, even if there is no fire, making it remarkable easy to “pre-plan” for fires to appear.  There didn’t appear to be any real difference between “GAME A” and “GAME B.”

Retro Pocket - whale escape- all that gaming stuff

In Whale Escape, the hero is rescuing Jonah (okay, not actually Jonah) from the belly of a whale while also avoiding the whale’s spout and diving pelicans.  I laughed a loud the first time one of the pelicans brained my character in the head.  Not a compelling plot, but a perfect modern update to a retro game.  GAME B was marginally more difficult.  Both are quite easy to play through.

Retro Pocket - egg drop - all that gaming stuffIn Egg Drop, your character has to collect falling eggs, then deposit them to the baskets on either side of the jungle scene.  Your basket can hold up to three eggs before you need to quickly empty it into one of the two baskets.  GAME B adds the additional obstacle of fanning away a pair of snakes who attempt to eat the eggs out of the baskets.

Overall, Rocket Pocket delivered exactly what it promised: a set of LED-style, retro games with matching graphics and music.  Each game is fun for a casual player, or, like the old games, to hand off to your kids in the backseat for a roadtrip.  Even the price of the download is reminiscent of the classics that it’s based off of.

Retro Pocket is available now for download at the Nintendo eShop for $4.99.

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