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Review: Dot Arcade (Wii U eShop)
Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:52 pm by Professor Clayton
Old School Cool

There is an increasingly large number of games saturating the market which rely on nostalgia to perform well. While not a bad strategy sometimes titles begin to feel like they are relying on the fact that they can feel a bit simplistic and simply copy older titles. Dot Arcade bucks this trend by being a reference to old arcade games which has its own unique throwback style you won't find anywhere else.

Dot Arcade is a package which contains three arcade games, each of which play in their own arcade cabinet. The game's screen is an 8x8 grid of dots, designed to appear as LEDs, surrounded by a hand-drawn arcade cabinet design. Each design varies based on the title being played and is a very welcome old-school reference.

The actual 8x8 grid of LEDs is a clever in that is can display simplistic visuals in a unique way. LEDs are off by default, and blend in well with the black background. Single LEDs light up to display only the most necessary of game elements, such as in Mr. Snake. In this title you control a single dot in a classic game of Snake. Your snake is colored yellow, and any yellow dots are your snake. By picking up green colored dote, your snake grows longer, by exactly one LED. Running into any of the blue LEDs will result in a game over.

The uniqueness is that Dot Arcade strips the gameplay down to its essentials and yet they remain enjoyable. The simple changing of colors of LED's feels natural to play and when mixed with retro sound effects and music, evokes a truly nostalgic feeling.

Up next is Dodge Club, where the goal is to not hit any of the moving enemies. By moving around with the D Pad you simply avoid the approaching enemies, one hit kills you. This is possibly the weakest title in the bunch, though it is still a good deal of fun. Dodge Club simply doesn't feel like a true classic arcade game and more of a minigame.

Rally Driver will likely remove any doubts you have though, as it is a shout-out to classic racing games. Tapping left and right to move your racecar to the sides, your goal is to avoid oncoming cars in your way. White LEDs on the side flash on and off to give a true illusion that a road is moving beneath you, something truly exciting to feel.

Dot Arcade's presentation doesn't end with the games though, as the menus are even well thought out. One feature is that the gamepad and TV output different music, both of which sound great. But when both are output at the same time, they combine together to sound even better. The details like these really show the effort put into this title, and it pays off.

Dot Arcade is one of the most enjoyable retro games of the Wii U eShop, even if it isn't actually a Virtual Console game. The gameplay is simplified to the point where only essentials are included, yet the gameplay is so simplified that it is truly fun. At the price of a Virtual Console title, Dot Arcade fits in nicely, and fans of older games should feel right at home.


Review Copy provided by: James Montagna

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