Retro Road Rumble is neither retro nor a rumble, but at least it takes place on roads. The concept behind it is very much like Crazy Taxi; drive from point to point in the time allotted to gain points, with some music to keep you company. The difference is that it's presented in an isometric view, with visuals far worse than the 1999 cult classic; the tunes are public domain songs from the early 1900s, too. When you start up the game, you're greeted with a lazy start-up screen, some yellow text on a black screen telling you to to tap the screen to start, which is odd as this is the only time the touchscreen is used.
There's no real story on offer here, instead you're just navigating roads in your jalopy on your way to several green drop off points. You'll have to imagine you're ferrying passengers, as you never see any and it's never made clear why exactly you're driving between all these points; we like to think whatever it is must be very important. You can accomplish this very important task across both a single and multiplayer mode, which are essentially the same.
When starting a game you'll get the choice of one of eight maps; these maps are all pretty similar urban type areas, though one has a lake and one has a chasm, which just seems a bit unsafe to us. You can also select whether you'll be navigating these maps during day or night, though that has no effect beyond lighting. As mentioned before, the maps are very zoomed out, so details appear extremely small and can sometimes be hard to make out on the GamePad screen. On a TV it fares much better, but the low detail of the environments is exacerbated by viewing them on the big screen.
Single player games are only played in a timed mode, which can be played in one minute increments, ranging anywhere from one minute to six. The goal of the game is to drive your car to as many green drop off points as you can before time is up. You gain 100 points for each successful drop off, trying to get a high score. The problem, however, is that the game does not save your high scores. You're sent to the title screen after each round and have to reconfigure your game afterward, thereby giving no incentive to try to beat your own scores. Experiencing each map will take a maximum of 48 minutes, though the variation between them is not enough to consider giving more than a couple a try. To make matters worse, each map takes about 30 seconds to load, which is far too long considering how simple this game is.
Multiplayer matches offer a bit more variety, but not much. When two players gear up for a match they can choose to play the aforementioned time-based match, or a race to meet a score target. There is, however, an interesting wrinkle to mutliplayer in that both players get to use the same GamePad. Each player holds one side of the controller and uses the analogue stick in a race to get to each of the drop off points. The two players can also shake the GamePad to create environmental hazards or remove them. This creates a problem because it requires quite the hearty shake to trigger these hazards, and it's especially difficult to pull this off without shaking the other player's grip on the controller.
In our time playing, we also noted several strange things, like our car randomly exploding when near a building or another computer-controlled car, despite never actually coming into contact with them. At times several cars would jam up an intersection, leaving a drop off point unreachable as well, effectively ending the game early.
There are few redeeming qualities about Retro Road Rumble. The innovative single-GamePad multiplayer is marred by the overall poor design of the game. Graphics that are neither pretty nor charming, a soundtrack comprised of public domain songs from the early 1900s and a map that is difficult to see when the game is played as intended, give more than enough reason not to spend your money or time on this one.