Average Playtime: 1 hour

You Have to Win the Game

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You Have to Win the Game is a retro 2D game heavily stylized to resemble an 8bit NES release.


The player controls an unnamed character and navigates it through the labyrinth in a medieval castle. The game is set in a largely open 2D world, in which the protagonist can move in every direction. There's no side-scrolling, and each section of the world occupies exactly one screen. To help the player to distinguish them, the sections have names, often comical, such as "Nice of you to drop in."

At the start of the game, the main character can only run and jump. After the player reaches a certain level, however, the game unlocks additional movements. The protagonist can eventually learn to bounce off the walls and perform double jumps. Nevertheless, the player cannot fight or otherwise defeat the monsters, such as bats and snakes he or she encounters. The only option is to avoid them. There are also collectibles like money bags, but they do not influence the gameplay. Their only role is to provide a 100% walkthrough achievement.


The game features intentionally pixelated visuals to resemble an 80s arcade. It is accompanied by 8bit sound effects and occasional chiptune music. There's even an option to emulate a CRT display. The game uses a very limited amount of 8 colors, although the player can choose to switch to a 16-color palette or to change the default colors.

Release date
Minor Key Games
J. Kyle Pittman
Minor Key Games
Age rating
Not rated

System requirements for Linux

  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or similar
  • Storage: 20 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable

System requirements for PC

  • OS: Windows XP SP2
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Storage: 20 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: 32-bit executable

System requirements for macOS

  • OS: OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
  • Storage: 20 MB available space
  • Additional Notes: 64-bit executable
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Last Modified: Sep 17, 2019

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You Have to Win the Game reviews and comments

Translated by
Microsoft from Deutsch
"Fate does not go like a straight Path. Rather, it is a Path with many small Side paths, such as Ice splintering under the Hammer. "-King's Quest VI Welcome To my Review of You Have to Win the Game, which was published free of charge on Steam on May 6, 2014 by Developer and Publisher Minor Key Games on Steam (It was downloadable from the Pirate Heats Page On May 6, 2012). I came across this Game by Accident, a quick Glance at the Pictures, a Look at the Price ... Why not risk a Look in? It cannot hurt. So I went to the Game with few Expectations, whether my Opinion has changed into Positives or Negatives? I would like to answer This Question with my Conclusion. Before That, however, I would like to introduce the Game in more detail. Story Story? A little Banality, which plays a rather small Role for a Jump & Run. The Use of Text is minimal, but it is limited to 2 Things. The Titling Of each Area and the cryptic Clues in individual Areas. The Terms Are various Allusions to popular Video Games and Movies, many Titles quite humorously succeeded, so I sometimes had to smile slightly. The cryptic Clues, on the other hand, are needed to solve a Meta-puzzle, which has made me Ponder for a While. The Title is just Program You Have to Win the Game. Game Play & Control It is a simple Jump & Run that emulates the classic Era of Video Games. There is a large World Complex, which is divided into different Areas and Areas. Thanks to new Abilities, the Player is able to explore new and old Areas in order to get hold of new Collectibles. What are the Collectibles? Money bags and Heart, which is no Need, unless you want to play the Game 100%. Those who set this Goal must also have explored the entire World complex once. The crisp Jump Passages form the Pinnacle of the Game, they are challenging but never unfair at any Point. I played with an X-Box 360 Controller and had no Problems whatsoever, even with the Keyboard the Game is relatively playable. The Control is the Pivot point, especially at a Jump & Run, a bad Control is a Death Criterion. Precise jumps are possible and never felt high that a Jump did not work because of the Controls alone, so I can say I am completely satisfied. Graphics & Sound In the Options, there are various Ways to change the Graphics of the game, whether an Image Resolution of 4:3 with The Edge of the Screen and Curvature, or an ordinary 16:9 image Resolution is preferred. It can be switched between 2 Graphics styles, once CGA (Color Graphics Adapter, published in 1981 by IBM) or EGA (Enhanced Graphics Adapter, published in 1984 by IBM). The Graphics are heavily Retro, a nostalgic Look back into the 80s of Video Games. Background music? Not present!. There are individual Sounds when the Character jumps or when Projectiles fly through the Area. Scope & Extras There are 2 Game Emodies, there would be Normal (Standard Campaign) and Extra Spicy (Difficult Campaign). The Degree of difficulty can also be determined by the Number of Lives. The DLC Playable Cat only adds one Mode, the Character becomes a cat. In YOLO fashion, the Character only wears sunglasses. There are 3 Ways Normal (Infinite life, generous Distribution of Checkpoints) YOLO mode (1 Life, no checkpoints, permanent Death, embarrassing name for hardcore mode) Playable Cat-DLC (9 Lives, generous Distribution of Checkpoints) Conclusion It You Have To Win the Game is a charming Casual Game, it manages to simulate the 80s by using old Graphics as well as the Game Play. If you want to feel a little Nostalgia, you've come to the right place in this Game! Everyone else can easily risk a Glance, it is ultimately free. My Expectations were easily exceeded, a nice Game, no more and no less. Adios!
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