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Top 10 Retro-Themed Games of 2018

2018 is on its way out the door, and it's time for us to do what we do best here at NewRetroWave

dead cells video game review gq 1 - Top 10 Retro-Themed Games of 2018

2018 is on its way out the door, and it’s time for us to do what we do best here at NewRetroWave… look back. From the great heights of the editorial desk, I have been handed down an assignment: to compile a list of the top ten biggest-impact retro-themed games of the year. I will admit, as I do every year, that I pay little attention to goings-on in the current time when it comes to video games. However, these titles are simply too good to pass up, too incredible to disregard. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

#10: CrossCode (Radical Fish)

This one was years in the making, and boy did it live up to expectations. Development started back in 2012, and the game was crowdfunded on Indiegogo in 2015. Finally this year we got the end result, and it stands tall among other RPGs of its flavor. Visually rich, wonderful story… worth checking out if you’re a fan of the RPG genre!

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#9: Log Jammers (Mega Cat Studios)

I wrote about these guys earlier in the year; their main deal is producing physical cartridges for the NES and other senior platforms, providing exciting new games for old systems. Though any of their releases would belong on this list, Log Jammers really is their flagship title for me. Fast-paced, exciting, and with a play style like deadly tennis, Log Jammers will remind you of your reflexes and provide a hefty challenge worthy of any thumb-fu master.

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#8: Dusk (David Szymanski)

A retro-style FPS game released early this year, Dusk gained a lot of traction as 2018 went on… for good reason. Gameplay is immersive but surprisingly light for the theme, and the mood is weird and spooky. It’s a great piece of work, well balanced between action and story. Following in the tradition of its forebears, Dusk puts the bloody meat of solid single-player FPS action back on the menu.

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#7: The Messenger (Sabotage Studio)

This title made a huge splash on Steam, and was released for many consoles as well. An oldschool platformer with a ton of delightful new twists, The Messenger has a nice storyline to chew on, artfully lush use of pixel graphics, and addictive gameplay that will keep you hooked. Really worth a look if you want a supercharged game in the vein of the original Ninja Gaiden series.

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#6: Octopath Traveler (Square Enix)

All I should need to say is, “Square Enix released an RPG this year.” This lives up to the legacy and more. Visually, it is absolutely GORGEOUS. True to the tradition, the turn-based combat will seem familiar enough to veterans, but hold enough new aspects to retain interest. Yet another absolutely worthwhile title from the vaunted halls of Square.

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#5: Celeste (Matt Thorson/Noel Berry)

Celeste is a masterwork video game. There is so much evidence of the love that went into this platformer, from the delightful graphics to the tight gameplay that leaves you nearly breathless. The prototype for this title was developed in four days, but this was no rush job – Celeste bears out as a game lovingly made by skilled hands.

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#4: Into The Breach (Subset Games)

Released in February by the same folks who brought us the fantastic starship game FTL, this giant robot strategic pound-em-up holds all the same epicness, and more! While strategy-style games are rarely my bag, I still found myself sucked into this one. Wonderful depth and options lend real weight to this exciting mecha-pulse pounder.

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#3: Megaman 11 (Capcom)

Capcom released another entry into the Megaman series this year, and they didn’t try to modernize it or doctor it up; they just stuck with the same filthy-rich side-scrolling action we know and love. 11 could sit right on your gaming shelf alongside all those having come before it, and belong there. I was doubly impressed by Megaman 11, since I’ve never really loved the series like so many do, and yet I was blown away by it. It has helped warm me to the franchise. That’s saying something!

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#2: Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon (Inti Creates)

Another long-awaited indie game that went through the crowdfunding paces before hitting home, Curse of the Moon is like the Castlevania 3 we all wanted in our heart of hearts. Multiple characters, multiple endings and paths, and insane CV-style gameplay. As a longtime Castlevania fan, I was deeply impressed with this love letter to not only the franchise but the style. If you love this stuff like I do, you must play this one.

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#1: Dead Cells (Motion Twin)

I have a friend I play D&D with, who tends to pick up these games before I do. I’m a hard sell sometimes, but he stayed on me about this one (thank you, Ben). I’m infinitely thankful. I could gush about Dead Cells all day. Procedurally-generated levels, action-packed stealth combat gameplay that demands both reflexes and cleverness, and a soundtrack to die for. This one’s picked up quite a few awards already, and when you lay eyes and hands upon it, you’ll see why immediately. Dead Cells has become a “daily” for me. I put in at least a half-hour daily. I’m helpless not to. Check it out ASAP!

dead cells video game review gq 1 - Top 10 Retro-Themed Games of 2018


2018. Another year into the future. The years seem to fly by, especially as we get older… but we’re always young so long as we remember how to play. Don’t you ever forget! And may 2019 be all you wish it to! Stay retro!


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