Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
Buy On
  1. 91
    You'll have an easier time picking out the jokes if you actually lived through the NES era, of course. Despite the constant presence of two kids on the lower screen, RGC is aimed directly at people who fondly remember saving their pennies to purchase titles the likes of Metroid or Super Mario Bros. 3.
  2. Retro Game Challenge is by far one of the most unique and delightful experiences I have had on my DS, but I realize I am precisely the gamer that this game was created for -- I'm 31 years old and I grew up in the eighties while the history of gaming was rapidly transforming by the moment all around me.
  3. Retro Game Challenge is absolutely worth picking up, and I highly suggest it to everyone.
  4. Retro Game Challenge hearkens back to a time when 3D graphics didn't exist and video games were nowhere near as elaborate as the high-end affairs current-gen systems offer. Even so, the highly creative presentation is top-notch, and the varied gameplay will keep you busy for hours on end. This one's a must for retro gaming enthusiasts.
  5. Retro Game Challenge is a great way to relive your NES days, or to see what the NES days were like.
  6. 86
    The developers of Retro Game Challenge didn't just accurately recreate 8-bit gaming -- they made a bunch of really good games. Requiring players to complete specific challenges is a great way to get us thinking about a game in new ways.
  7. Even if you're not old enough to remember blowing on carts, Retro Game Challenge is interesting and varied enough to entertain for hours. [Feb 2009, p.87]
  8. Though you may not be able to become a kid again for real, Retro Game Challenge does a nice job of replicating that experience with retro knock-offs and magazines to add to the 80’s atmosphere that can’t be done as well with compilations and remakes.
  9. Nintendo Power
    Great gameplay and a goofy sense of humor make this a terrific tribute to the 8-bit experience. [Jan 2009, p.91]
  10. Retro Game Challenge is vintage gaming at its best, whether you're a newbie or an old-school 8-bit kid at heart.
  11. It works on several levels, but Retro Game Challenge is more enjoyable the nerdier and possibly older you are. The games are fun enough to play, but if you recognize a Ninja Gaiden parody just by playing for a minute, have played Galaga enough to tell the subtle differences in what they chose not to emulate or chuckle at the phrase "feel asleep," this is absolutely the game for you.
  12. If you remember the joy of 8-bit gaming, Retro Game Challenge is the must-own nostalgic gaming experience you'll ever have.
  13. 80
    The translations are occasionally botched. In two instances, the cheat codes were incorrect. This, plus the fact that some of the challenges send you back over territory you've already covered, keeps the game from achieving true retro perfection. It's still awesome, and a must-play for fans of the NES era.
  14. But what it lacks in style and depth it makes up for in sheer replayability and nostalgia. It takes you back to a time before there were meaningful stories, fancy leveling systems or any of that other stuff you might take for granted.
  15. 80
    Retro Game Challenge is a unique collection of newly made retro games.
  16. Having fun with Retro Game Challenge doesn't require you to be a child of the '80s, or even a fan of older games; it just asks that you appreciate the past and Namco Bandai's loving attempt to recreate it.
  17. A great compilation that will remind you of why you got into video games in the first place.
  18. For many of us trying to recapture those childhood feelings of awe and wonder, Retro Game Challenge gets to the very heart of why we still play videogames and for that is to be applauded.
  19. The game is still a blast to play.
  20. A fleeting love letter to the 8-bit generation, Retro Game Challenge deserves to be experienced by everyone with a heart for gaming culture.
  21. 80
    It's yet another unique DS experience, yet another game that simply must be played.
  22. The charms, variety, and authenticity of this unusual compilation of 8-bit-style games help it shine in spite of some flaws.
  23. games(TM)
    The challenge concept gives Retro Game Challenge a sense of longevity and compulsion that's been missing from real-life compilations like Namco Museum, but is not without its own problems. [May 2009, p.116]
  24. If the whole idea seems interesting to you, then the entertainment provided by games, magazines and dialogues will be more than enough to bring this work to the end.
  25. If you’re a fan of retro gaming and can manage to wade through the filler, Retro Game Challenge provides ample challenge and enjoyment. Marred somewhat by its execution, though, I cannot recommend the game for everyone. It appeals to a niche audience, but that audience will find it to be very rewarding.
  26. Retro Game Challenge may not be as genuine as an actual 8-in-1 retro game collection by Namco or Atari, but what it lacks in authenticity, it makes up for by successfully bringing everything that’s awesome yet simple about the classics.
  27. Retro Game Challenge is a great concept, but the execution makes things more tedious than they needed to be. If it were a bit more open-ended about which games you could play at any given time and didn't double-up on some of the games, it'd be a pretty cool little collection. But once I got finished playing a game I really didn't want to play anymore only to be faced with a "new" version of a game I had already unlocked, the spell was broken and the rest became simple, repetitive grinding.
  28. Nintendo Gamer
    A bunch of so-so games. [June 2009, p.64]
  29. In the end, the humorous aspect of the game and the unique story are not enough for me to continue playing. With boring retro type games, which RGC is centered on, and the need for me to unlock the games by playing challenges of which some are very difficult; I feel this game really isn't worth my time and I suggest you take a pass even if you are really into retro games.

Awards & Rankings

#30 Most Discussed DS Game of 2009
#61 Most Shared DS Game of 2009
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 16 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. Nov 30, 2011
    An interesting take on retro gaming for new players, Retro Game Challenge can even be an emotional ride for old timers.

    The Good: A fair
    An interesting take on retro gaming for new players, Retro Game Challenge can even be an emotional ride for old timers.

    The Good: A fair share of new (?!) retro games tweaked to appeal to both old and modern audiences; plenty of value in the main campaign, plus a bunch of unlockables.

    The Bad: Can feel repetitive at times.

    The premise is interesting: a kid who simply can't win at current gen games is sent back to the past to learn how to play like a pro through retro challenges. The execution is lovely: a typical 80s gaming experience is provided in every aspect--8-bit games (and that means cartridges with manuals and all) being released, magazines with hints and reviews, playing in another kid's house while convincing his mother to let you play... Retro Game Challenge achieves a nice balance in these elements making it a blast for both young players and old-school veterans as well.

    Your friends' living room acts as a hub for you to explore this brave old (:P) world. While sitting on the floor in front of the TV you'll face challenge after challenge as your buddy comes in every now and then with new carts (and monthly issues of fictitious mags) covering pretty much every genre available in the 80s: shooters, action-platformers, racing games... even an RPG shows off towards the end. The presentation here--more than that, the overall care with details--is stunning and makes it for a warming experience: reading a game manual, being surprised by an amazing secret revealed in a mag, listening to your friend cheering (and sometimes bothering) you, winning a special limited edition of a game at a contest, buying a "turbo" controller... Everything sums up to make you feel right at home (be it a revisited one or a brand new place depending on who the "real" player is) in such a living environment.

    Talking about the games, as said above they're not just plain retro assemblage. Each one was carefully tweaked to be enjoyable to everyone--and here we've got to the biggest achievement on this Xseed project: to make a pile of simple games not to necessarily feel dated. The nice variety of titles include sequels to original IPs that allow the series to develop internally while making you care for them, leaving you eager for the next "releases".

    One could argue that RGC can get a little repetitive when it comes to the aforementioned challenges (they make you replay the same game a couple times for different goals) but even that can't be considered a chore due to a constant stream of new info on the games. Hints, tips and cheat codes lend you a helping hand when the time to replay 'em all comes by without spoiling the pleasure of exploring a new title for the first time (just like it used to be in the 80s when videogame journalists didn't know much more than regular gamers from start).

    In the end Retro Game Challenge is a neat piece of hypothetical gaming history... and along the way it manages not only to capture a real retro feeling of an entire era but also to be amusing to new players--even if it's the case of someone who lacks a soft spot for nostalgia.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 25, 2011
    Based on the fantastic Japanese gaming show Game Center CX, this embodies all that is great about retro gaming in to a collection of original,Based on the fantastic Japanese gaming show Game Center CX, this embodies all that is great about retro gaming in to a collection of original, though heavily inspired, NES era games. Each game has its own set of unique challenges, cheats, and tactics to keep the game fun and fresh from beginning to end. Full Review »
  3. KeithB
    Mar 11, 2009
    Wow. This game needs to get way more attention. On the face of it, it's essentially a series of eight games, all with 8-bit level Wow. This game needs to get way more attention. On the face of it, it's essentially a series of eight games, all with 8-bit level graphics, sound and controls - but it's really so much more than that. Read any other review for specifics - the mechanics and design of the games are all brilliant and solid as hell - but this game has taught me some even more important things. Full Review »