More fun in the form of a PSP Mini.
Retro Cave Flyer, from Big Head Games Limited, plays like an up to date mix of two old games, Choplifter and Lunar Lander. This is another PSP Mini with a simple yet addictive concept. The player flies a little spacecraft using three simple controls. Tilting the ship left and right, combined with the use of the thrust, gives the player the ability to both move quickly or carry out the small precise movements needed for some parts of the game.
The aim of the game is to explore various cave systems on a planet in search of lost scientists who are in need of rescuing. This means flying your ship to the surface and below it to find the hapless researchers, who are rather handily waiting on landing platforms. The player has to touch down so that the stranded boffins can join you in relative safety of your ship. Itâ€™s down to the player to rescue all of the scientists on each stage before running out of fuel, which diminishes when you use the thrust control. The shields reduce if you hit the walls of the caves or land badly. Both fuel and shield bars can be replenished on certain landing platforms, designated by a green gauge. At first you may not even need to use these, or find yourself using them only to improve your high score, but on later stages strategic use of the refuelling platforms is a necessity and can be the deciding factor as to whether or not you can finish some of the stages.
The challenge in the game comes from controlling your thrust and steering to the smallest degree. With the player at times having to guide the craft through caves, some of which are barely wide enough for you to fit, the smallest tap of the controls can be either perfect or disastrous. The first eight or nine stages in the game are not too much of a challenge and most players will be able to get through them without a problem. However, from this point onwards the stages get a little more complex, with some resembling mazes rather than caves. With the refuelling points few and far between, it becomes a real challenge for the player, requiring you to plan your route ahead, taking into account where the scientists are and when it best benefits you to use a refuelling point.
Initially there are twelve stages which unlock one at a time as you complete the previous one. Once you have completed the first twelve stages, you are switched to expert mode and from there on in things get a tougher yet again.
Overall Retro Cave Flyer is a pretty enjoyable game for the PSP. Perfectly suited to the style of gaming that the Minis are designed best, picking up and occupying the player for a spare few minutes. The game is especially enjoyable if you are an older gamer and can fondly remember the games that inspired this title. Even if you have no recollection of those games, it is still a highly enjoyable Mini for your PSP, combining a simple retro style of gameplay with a more modern look and sound.
Despite the fact that the initial ten stages are a touch on the easy side, as you progress further into the game it eventually gives the player much more of a challenge. On top of that I have found myself playing stages over again knowing that I can attain a higher score. This gives the game a bit of replayability, that is if you can get through all the stages in the first place. Not only is Retro Cave Flyer fun to play, it also gives players a good challenge. Retro Cave Flyer is available from the PSN Store for Â£2.49.