Retro City Rampage DX is set to hit the Nintendo 3DS this week, and ahead of its launch we had a chance to sit down with the lead (and mostly solo) developer behind the project, Brian Provinciano, to check it out.

The open-world game offers the same experience that you may have already found on the PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360 or PC, though it has some small changes to support the 3D display on the 3DS.

Provinciano explained some of his thought processes behind the game, which offers a retro-style Grand Theft Auto feel. He designed it to run entirely on the NES, and there’s even an option inside of the game to run that version, called “ROM City Rampage.” You’ll start off the game on a mission to rob a bank, and along the way you’ll see some call-outs to older games, like a sewer tube hat tip to Mario. As a mostly modern gamer, I loved the 8-bit style and, even more, the retro soundtrack.

Provinciano garnered interest from Vert (Adam Butler) a famous digital composer, as well as two others, who helped craft a 2.5 hour soundtrack for the game. To add to the old-school feel, there are also 20 different “color TV modes,” each of which provides the feel and colors of an older gaming system.

Gameplay reminded me a lot of the first Grand Theft Auto game: you take a birds-eye view of the action and you’re basically free to run around stealing cars, shooting up people or taking on missions. There are even quick-play modes that only take a few minutes of your time, in which you can try to complete a goal (killing so many people in a set amount of time, for example). Taking that into consideration, we kind of wish there was some sort of multiplayer mode, which would allowed for some awesome 8-bit deathmatch action, though it isn’t an option.

Provinciano said the game can be cruised through in a few hours if you’re pushing, though casual gamers will find it takes longer to beat. You should find it in the Nintendo eShop soon for $9.99, and it’s well worth the price if our brief experience with it is any indication of what to expect.