Based on the visuals, You Have to Win the Game (YHtWtG) could easily have been released 30-ish years ago, but back then the platforming genre lacked both the have tight controls and rock-solid frame-rate this one has. A more likely scenario in the early 1980s would be around 20 FPS and semi-floaty controls, neither of which are great for this kind of game, so it’s a good thing that YHtWtG is from 2012 (visuals aside).
The basic premise is to collect every money bag in the game, but of course it’s not just a matter of bouncing around on platforms and picking them up. Just like in other precision platformers, the entire world is riddled with hazards ranging from acid pits to spikes and bats; not to mention those platforms everyone just loves.. the kind that disappears underneath your character. Since you’ll likely be dying a lot, it’s a good thing that checkpoints aren’t far apart and that your 1up supply endless.
Another attempt to emphasize its old-school roots is made by utilizing single-screen areas – no scrolling here, which does at least make navigation somewhat easier. There are parts where you have to pick the right exit from one screen in order to access a certain area on the one it leads into though, but that and switches placed in specific locations create new platforms, resulting in previously inaccessible areas opening up or even enabling you to get that just-out-of-reach money bag.
And how about an option to play with CRT-style borders for an even greater retro feel? Overall, YHtWtG is definitely a mix of old and new that works great on all fronts and it’s free! So if I’ve managed to peak your curiosity, go ahead and grab it from the website.
Update: v1.01 has been released and here’s the change log (and some stats).