If "retro" to you means huge chunky pixels, bleeping and blerping sounds and gameplay that doesn't lead you by the hand, Joshua Smyth of Tiny Frog Software has just the game for you: Attack of the Meeplings. And if you think this Java-based shooter is going to explain what a Meepling is, you're sadly mistaken.
The game opens with a brief rundown of the controls: [arrow] keys move, [Z] shoots and [space] drops a bomb. The [A] key also acts as autofire, which sounds like a typical shooter to me, and that's exactly what it is.
Comprised of only three levels, the game eternally loops, getting slightly harder and faster with each go round. The pick-ups dropped by each destroyed enemy do nothing to increase your firepower or ability to maneuver brilliant, complex bullet patterns with ease. Each enemy destroyed is worth a mere 1 point. Collect one pick-up and their destruction grants you two points. Collect a hundred and, well, you get the idea. As a result the game rewards you with a higher score the longer you play, and along with that, the ability to gain a higher score with ease.
Analysis: The game is glorious, retro-styled fun from top to bottom, including every pixel and the tough but fair gameplay; however, the real stand out is the music. Usually I find myself playing with the sound muted, but with this game I couldn't play without the music. It is an important part of the experience. Everything meshes well; the bullets' pew, the destructive kssh, the pick-up pwing all go hand-in-hand together to create a nicely layered experience.
The sounds, by the way, were apparently created with this nifty little device called SFXR by DrPetter, (a 50kb download) and is well worth having a play around with especially for the game developers out there.
In short, Attack of the Meeplings is an excellent and enjoyable throwback to the days of old where gaming was a little bit tougher, but was, for some inexplicable reason, a whole heap of enjoyable. Play, and attempt to survive, the attack of the Meeplings.