Back in 1995 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 03.06.2019

Review for Back in 1995 on Nintendo Switch

Indie game development is going through a microcosm of the evolution of computer graphics. What began with simplistic NES-inspired pixel art, has finally arrived to pay homage to the low-poly aesthetics of the original PlayStation. The primitive visuals of the era truly lent itself to the survival-horror genre, by abstracting details, and allowing players to fill in the gaps with their imagination. With careful art direction, an innovative game designer could get a lot of mileage with these limitations and make something truly memorable, like, for example Silent Hill... or maybe not. Cubed3 goes Back in 1995 to witness true terror.

Back in 1995 is abhorrent. It is an utterly repugnant and vulgar mockery of early PlayStation horror games, as it completely misrepresents how they played, and how they looked. It is almost as if the designer never actually played the titles that are the apparent inspirations for this pitiful display. Upon first glance it may fool someone who was born in the 2000s, but anyone who has played things like Silent Hill, Dino Crisis or Alone in the Dark, would know that PS1 games looked way better than this.

Having low-poly models with texture warping is not enough, and completely undermines all the artists who painstakingly textured and carefully modelled characters/environment to the best of their ability despite the limits of the hardware at the time. Kent the protagonist, more closely resembles a crash test dummy of Harry Mason, with less mobility than a crippled S.T.A.R.S. Member. The only effect that is convincing is the texture warping which is more present than actual early PS1 games.

Screenshot for Back in 1995 on Nintendo Switch

For those few who'll manage to stomach this gross caricature will find themselves suffering through gameplay that is actually worse than the lowest of the low that the original PlayStation had to offer. Absolutely subpar titles like Vampire Hunter D and Overblood, shockingly have better controls, and have more fluid movement than what Back in 1995 has to offer. Kent moves in the standard "tank-control" scheme that is the bane of most casual gamers, which would not be so bad except that he moves intensely slow and sluggishly.

He only has one walking speed, and the act of turning takes days. There is no 180-quick turn, and Kent attacks so lethargically that it's a miracle that his attacks do any damage at all. Enemies also are laughably slow, and animate with the most drawn out and relaxed motion possible. It becomes sad to see Kent and a low-level grunt exchange very slow blows as both characters get stuck in their attacking animations with no means to cancel. There is never a moment when Back in 1995 ever feels good to play, or ever resemble an actual '90s survival-horror.

Comparisons to Silent Hill don't stop at just the poorly imitated aesthetics - the basic premise has been lifted too. Kent is on a quest to find his daughter, and is caught up in familiar settings that are festooned with weird creepy crawlies. The monsters are very hard to discern and could be anything. They ultimately end up looking like meat or comically big raisins. Back in 1995 is mercifully short and barren with a grand totally of three main areas where Kent has to scour for key-items and solve some basic puzzles. This is as basic as it gets when it comes to following the old-school survival horror playbook of design. Almost feels like this is a blank template for other designers to plug in their assets to make their own horror game. Barebones and devoid of life, Vaccine manages to be a more worthy homage to '90s era horror than Back in 1995.

Screenshot for Back in 1995 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 1 out of 10


Playing Back in 1995 does not evoke feelings of nostalgia, it only insults those who loved horror gaming in the '90s. What is sad is that it seems as if this was meticulously designed to be bad on purpose due to a misunderstanding of the genre. The idea of a retro throwback style, low-poly survival-horror has potential due to the power of imagination that sparks when confronted with nightmarishly uncanny, early computer graphics. Regretfully, Back in 1995 will please no one. Hardcore, old-school fans will be insulted, and modern gamers will only get a distorted example of a long-lost type of games that only exist today as HD rereleases.


Throw the Warped Code Out


Ratalaika Games





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  1/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Comments are currently disabled

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
mikem52, RudyC3

There are 2 members online at the moment.