Retro-Bit Generations Review : The other Mini
So soon after the now successful, yet impossible to buy, Nintendo Classic was announced. A company named Retro-Bit, known for making two in one consoles that play both NES and Snes carts. Quietly started putting up ads for their own mini plug and play retro style console. It would feature similar features like HDMI support and come packed with a variety of classic games. With some pretty well-known companies on the list like Capcom, IREM, and Jaleco.
All this seemed like the perfect option for those who couldn’t track down a mini or who wanted more variety in their retro plug and play gaming life. So how is it? Well, good, bad, and ugly. Let’s start with the good. It’s tiny and sleek, much like its NES counterpart. It’s not designed to look like an existing console but the all black and red looks good. And unlike Nintendo’s offering it has both HDMI and A/V support. As well as an SD card slot, plus it comes packed with two controllers that actually reach your couch. On the bottom of the console there is rubber grips in each corner to prevent sliding. The controllers are USB, have six buttons and feel like tiny Genesis controllers, they also have a home button that brings you back to the main menu.
Retro-bit didn’t stop at 30 games, no, this bad boy has 100 games in it. All for 60 bucks. Before I get to the bad let’s talk about those games. It’s an interesting list to say the least. The stand outs are 1943, Ring King, Super Ghouls and Ghosts and Knights of the Round. It also features some obscure titles that never saw a North American release like Holy Diver on the Famicon. The game list is all over the place, with games from the NES, SNES, and Gameboy. All have an option to go full screen and have a state save feature. With some minor HDMI upscaling most games play fairly well. Problem is, the other half of the game list is filler. The Types of game that are from the depths of your cellphone. Which brings me to the bad.
First off the menu is hideous. Where the NES Classic has cheerful menu music and appropriate sounds for switching from game to game. The Retro-bit has this bright glaring red screen with small text and a random screen shot of the game you’re choosing. It reminded why I hate emulation programs. That crudeness that screams “this is totally illegal”. And as mentioned above, for every good game, there’s also some random turd I never heard of like “Lawn Mower”!? Also while most games play well enough. Some of the best games play worse than they do on the original NES. Bionic Commando for example has a ton of ghosting and flickering, and the music sounds like it was remastered on a tin can. The same can be said for Commando and Mercs. But nothing prepared me for when I attempted to play Varth: Operation Thunderstorms, a shoot em up that’s damn fun. Well apparently no one at Retro-Bit tested these games because that one loads up horizontal when it’s supposed to be vertical!
Bottom line is this thing feels rushed. Not so much the physical design, but whats inside. There are some classic games inside this thing and they shouldn’t be sharing space with no name homebrews. And they should play perfectly. If the Retro-Bit was 20 bucks I could forgive it. But it’s not, it’s trying to compete with the Mini and it failed. What a shame. I did have some fun, but I can’t recommend it.
60% out of 100.