The advent of mini-consoles has seen a huge resurgence in the retro gaming market as fans of all levels seek ways to play the beloved games of yore. Dreamcade Replay is here to to try and fill the needs of ALL gamers with their new console. After some hands-on time with it, I’m sold on the possibilities.
Frankly speaking, I wanted to deliver you guys a fully fleshed out review of this console. With daughters who needed surgery for their ears, a bevy of sick kids in the house, all while trying to move, I was lucky I was able to get the play time in with the Replay machine that I did. As such, I don’t feel comfortable giving a “full” review as I don’t feel I’ve been able to use it enough to try everything out.
It’s a great little gaming machine, though, and with just a few more days left on its (already successful) KickStarter I wanted to give you some information on it.
The premise for Dreamcade Replay is fairly simple; plug in the console and be able to play all of the old arcade games from days past as well as some of the original gaming consoles out there. Ohhhh, but that's far from all it can do. By connecting to the internet you can download just about any retro game you can image. It even has a swanky "cartridge" look up system where you can take a picture of a physical game with your phone, and their accompanying app will find it and add it to your list of games. So it really is able to play all the retro games as the developers claim.
This is accomplished fairly simply, as the console itself runs off a regular computer OS and is running various ROM/Emulator programs to operate everything. For the most part, you won't find much reason to deal with that aspect of the console, though craftier gamers can access it easy enough to mod to their hearts content. There's a lot going on behind the scenes of this, ostensibly, plug-in-play console, making it super easy to add games and, most importantly, enjoy your time playing through them all.
The Dreamcade UI is easy to understand: the right side features a list of all the different consoles and clicking on those, takes you to a list of games on those consoles you can play (either preloaded or that you've added on your own). I mean, I pretty much handed the controller to my eight and nine year old kids without much instruction and they figured it out pretty quick and were playing games in no time.
The controller has a number of command shortcuts you can use, and comes with a handy guide detailing them all. I suggest you keep the guide close-by as there are so many commands it'll take some time getting used to.
Once you find a game to play and select it, playing them is simple enough once you get the controls down. Each console, obviously, has a slightly different controller layout for their games, so it'll take a moment to adjust as you switch games. Even so, once you get it figured out (or even adjust the controller configuration) the games play out in much the same way you remember them. I didn't notice any lag in my gameplay time (I played Atari, Arcade, and NES titles) from hitting a button and seeing the result in the game. Sometimes that can be the case when you're using controllers on ROMs, but the Dreamcade Replay has managed to make the process smooth and easy.
While I haven't been able to test out every feature on the machine, in my time playing with it, I've see nothing but potential out of the device. With such a large catalog of games you can choose from and add, it really feels like the all-in-one retrogaming system you've been itching for. I know I plan on getting plenty of great use out of it.
As I mentioned, the console is currently on Kickstarter and already met its goal. That means if you pledge your support, you'll be buying the system without fear of it falling through, and based off the demo unit they sent me, it's worth it for retro gaming fans.