Top Critic Average
There are some clever and innovatively retro-feeling features in Back in 1995 that I must give a lot of credit to Throw the Warped Code Out for. The game has a heart-warming incentive behind it that makes it very likeable but unfortunately, it just doesn’t stand out as a game in its own right. I think the story is eventually the strongest part of this game but it just doesn’t feel fun to play, neither is it scary, so I can’t really recommend it. Developers are releasing remakes now (the recent Resident Evil 2 Remake was fantastic) and removing the tank controls and static cameras for more modern mechanics, which shows that maybe some of these were limitations of the hardware rather than reasons that made the classics great. Personally, I think Back In 1995 didn’t need to replicate everything, it would have been good to see it improve on them.
The 32-bit generation is one that I feel more indies should look toward after a plethora of 8-bit and 16-bit inspired titles have already dominated the scene. But Back in 1995 is too visually distracting, too slow, and too short for its $9.99 price. Nonetheless, the idea here is sound. With a better camera, a bit more speed, some expanded gameplay, and less negligence towards full-on emulation, a future installment could provide a nice retro fix.
It feels harsh to draw so many comparisons between Back in 1995 and the classic survival horror games of the '90s, but then again, the former is an intentional attempt to replicate the latter, so it's unavoidable. Unfortunately, by staying so rigidly faithful to the typical survival horror tropes – like tank controls and fixed camera angles – the developer has left out important elements like plot and art direction. As it is, Back in 1995 only succeeds in reminding you why its ancestors were so good in the first place – but perhaps more importantly, why some of them should be left back in the '90s.
Overall, I found Back in 1995 a mixed experience. There was a lot to be desired for, in terms of the combat and movement system. The graphics and textures, they aren’t too bad, but the gameplay is were this game really falls down.