Even going right back to the 1980s, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed when it comes to gaming – an inherent need amongst gamers to prove that they are better than their friends, can collect more trophies or achievements or that their knowledge of games is superior. Wanting to give his fellow gamers the chance to prove just how adept they were when it came to their knowledge of retro gaming, Denis Evans developed Retro Snippets as a free download for Android and iOS devices, but is it worth downloading…?
On loading, you’re presented with a brief introductory screen with information about the game and how to play. From there you can choose to play a random challenge from the hundreds of the quizzes on offer, play the game (which will take you to the main selection screen) or go the options menu that will enable you to alter some of the in-game difficulty and help settings. Selecting the Play option takes you to what initially appears to be a fairly daunting menu. From here there are 20 primary categories of puzzles spread over two screens, covering a diverse mix of retro gaming subjects from Arcade Conversions to Pinball Machines, Computers and Consoles to 8-Bit Games. Each of these categories has anything up to 28 quizzes within them so there’s plenty to keep you going for quite some time.
Upon selecting a quiz to play, you’re presented with basic statistics about the quiz you’re about to take on. How many letters are used in all of the answers, the target times you need to aim for to complete the challenge and the current fastest time. When you’re ready either touch the screen to start or select cancel to return to the previous menu but obviously you don’t really want to do that now do you? So starting off you see five clues (or “Snippets”) to games or items relevant to the category you are in. The answers are at the bottom of the screen… but the words have been broken into chunks of 2-4 letters and scattered randomly. You have to piece these together in order, one solution at a time in any order. Get it right and the pieces are removed from play and the correct word or words are displayed in the top list. Sounds simple and the concept itself is but the puzzles vary from simple to fiendishly difficult. Secondary hints are available if you need them by tapping on the Snippets and if you are really stuck, hints are on offer by holding your finger down on the Snippets which will reveal all of the pieces you need to solve it.
At the end of each quiz you’ll be awarded a star rating based on your performance – one star for completing the puzzle and up to two further stars if you complete it within the time targets, extending the games lifespan as you desperately try to beat your previously fastest time.
In total there are several hundred quizzes and with each one having 5 Snippets to solve you can imagine that this will take some time to complete. While some of the easier ones can be done in around a minute others will keep you scratching your head for much longer, especially if you come across some aspects of gaming that you’re not too familiar with. Regardless, there’s enough to keep you playing for a good few hours before you come close to completing all of the quizzes.
With an easy to use interface this is a surprisingly fun game. It’s simple but works really well. When I first started playing I decided that I’d just have a quick go but found it hard to stop playing, initially going through every quiz in the first few categories, then moving on to others randomly. After taking a break, I keep finding myself coming back repeatedly in short breaks between doing other things online. It does have it’s minor flaws – some Snippets do crop up several times during play (despite the game having a huge selection of well over a thousand to get through) – but it’s a fun time-waster and a small enough file that it won’t have too great an impact on the storage space on any mobile device either.
I said at the start that this app was free. Well that’s not entirely true. It’s actually an ad-supported title but not in the traditional sense. Denis developed the game not only to share his passion for retro gaming but also as a promotional tool for his online retro video games store, The Retro Cavern, and the only advertising you will find in the game is a link to his store or to his other games on the Apple or Google Play store. It’s unobtrusive and while the advertisement is visible throughout, it only takes up a small portion of the bottom of the screen and doesn’t interfere with the game itself.
Overall, it’s fun, entertaining and a real brain-teaser for all of us retro-heads out there and it doesn’t cost a penny (unless you’re tempted to visit Denis’s store afterwards!). What more could you ask for?
Retro Snippets is available now for Android and iOS devices free of charge from their respective stores.
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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