Thrust For Life: Retrobooster

By Adam Smith on January 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am.

Look! Up in the sky, among the glorious particle effects and shrieking survivors of some form of terrible space disaster! Is it an Oids, is it a Thrust, is it a Lunar Lander? No, gentlethings and roughhousers, although it may be distantly related to those greats, the device streaking toward tomorrow’s horizon is Retrobooster. It’s a game in which spaceships cruise between giant cogs, dodging and corkscrewing. Explosions look like the aftermath of a firework shipment crashing into a burning peacock farm. With four player splitscreen support for both co-op and deathmatch play, Retrobooster should entertain you at least as much as Russell Crowe in a sandpit. It’s out February 21st and seeking votes on Greenlight.

A demo is available, as I noted more than a year ago. Retrobooster has been a long time coming, perhaps because of a tendency to boost in the wrong direction, but hopefully it’ll be worth the wait. DRM-free for Windows/Linux, preorders are $12.00 and the final release will cost $18.

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9 Comments »

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  1. Caiman says:

    I had great fun with the ancient demo from 2012, the dev really nailed the feel of the craft which a lot of these Thrust-a-likes don’t quite manage to get right. I think I can safely pre-order this one.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    My question always used to be “but is it as good as Thrust on the BBC Micro?”, because nothing ever was. Not even the attempted remakes of Thrust could ever get the right feel.

    Then “Gravitron” came out, and it was good. And hard. Very very hard. Now, it wasn’t trying to be Thrust at all, and the physics weren’t the same (nor is there a pendulum mechanic), but for the first time since Thrust I felt it was a game in the genre which had actually “got it right”. It felt good.

    Then “Gravitron 2” appeared, and in my books this little one-man retro-styled indie release was 2008’s Game of the Year. It absolutely nailed it. G2 initially seems dramatically easier than its predecessor due to some gameplay changes, but that simply allows for a better learning curve before the game starts to really throw you into some tricky situations. So fear not — there is plenty of challenge in them there hills.

    In truth I have never been happier with a $5 game in my entire life (and while I realise that my love for Thrust is a definite factor in that, Gravitron 2 is indisputably an outstanding entry in this genre. So these days my question is: “but is it as good as Gravitron 2?”

    Based on Caiman’s comment, it seems that I’ll have to give it a try. Fingers crossed…

    • Terry says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’m the guy who made this game. I played some Graviton back in the day and way too much Oids. But I’m trying to make Retrobooster its own game much more than homage game. I basically amped up the ship responsiveness until it was high enough that you could have bullet hell battles but not so high that it was impossible to get good at. After doing that, there are a lot of opportunities for challenges that I haven’t seen in cave-flyers before. Even puzzles (and the puzzles are seriously tough just like some of the battles). I hope you like how it turns out.

    • Caiman says:

      My touchstone for the genre has always been Oids rather than Thrust, so bear that in mind Shadowcat; I grew up with that strange, glowing, low-gravity world. I don’t think Retrobooster is a return to Oids in terms of its gameplay (it’s less contemplative for a start) but the feel is there. I’ve no idea how the basic concept I saw in the demo will be extended over the full game, but fingers are crossed. I know the dev was thinking of possibly including an Oids-like level editor at some point, although probably not in the initial release (based on what I read on the Greenlight updates). CROSSED FINGERS, TERRY!

      • Terry says:

        Oids was a big inspiration. It really nailed the the feel of flying the ship, which is probably why it was so good. It had some good, hard levels too. A level editor would be great. That will all depend on player interest and how well the game does financially. The level editor I built works fine for me but it’s nowhere near high enough quality for releasing publicly. I have never even gotten it compiling in Windows :)

    • Shadowcat says:

      It’s quite nice (and I’m loving all the little details, such as the way the smoke behaves, and ‘interacting’ with the humans) but unfortunately I’m getting some stuttering in full-screen mode when things get moderately busy, which of course is no good in a game like this. I think my GeForce 8600 is simply struggling a bit at my monitor’s native resolution (1920×1080). Playing in a window seems smoother, but then the play area is too small. I couldn’t see an option to select a resolution for full-screen mode, which is clearly what I’d need. Am I missing something? All I could see was the “full screen” toggle.

      • Terry says:

        You are correct, there is no option for changing resolution. I thought by this point computers would be powerful enough that I didn’t need that anymore. Of course, older hardware is a different story. I hope that doesn’t turn out to be a mistake. The only suggestion I have for stuttering is to turn off vsync if you have it turned on. Vsync tends to help when your framerate stays reliably above 60Hz, but it makes things worse if you can’t maintain 60Hz.

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    strangeloup says:

    The header image seems to have spunk bullets and teeth monsters which are making me shy away.

    Video is promising, on the other hand; the lighting effects and indeed general visual style remind me (in a good way) of 3Dfx Glide, though obviously in substantially higher resolution.