Atari’s classic arcade games are still iconic and instantly recognisable today, especially for old gamers like me. Though Atari haven’t done a huge amount of exciting things with their back […]
Atari’s classic arcade games are still iconic and instantly recognisable today, especially for old gamers like me.
Though Atari haven’t done a huge amount of exciting things with their back catalogue in the last few decades, the Recharged series seeks to take things back to basics, albeit with a modern audiovisual sheen and minimal additions to bring them a bit more up to date.
Titles such as Geometry Wars took a lot of inspiration from high score chase games such as Asteroids, so you’d be forgiven for thinking that Asteroids: Recharged homages that title, rather than it having been the other way around.
There’s a real minimalist sensibility to Asteroids: Recharged that’s undeniably appealing – its standard mode gives you just one life with which to try and get the highest score possible, so it can be quite a challenge to get anywhere.
It’s fitting, of course – it feels like an authentically old school learning curve and yet one which is incredibly addictive. The core gameplay of having a small ship – which can thrust pretty fast around the wraparound, single screen playfield – that you’ll pilot and use to shoot down increasingly dense waves of asteroids with, remains brilliant and compelling in equal measure.
Reducing large asteroids to smaller, easier-to-dodge but harder-to-shoot floating rocks is edge of the seat stuff – though made a little easier by the addition of power ups that come from certain UFOs. Other UFO types will shoot back – and it’ll often be these deadly accurate aliens, rather than the easier to handle, titular asteroids, that’ll take you down.
The addition of a challenge mode – with rounds that each have pre-determined goals – is a nice touch. These really do provide a solid challenge right from the very first one – though these aren’t quite as compelling as chasing the high score in the main mode that’s on offer, it’s a good bonus in its own right and does provide shorter bursts of goal-oriented gameplay.
It’s a success then; just similar enough to the old experience that it should appeal to fans of the 1979 arcade original (or one of its many home ports), but also with a few neat additions – including minimalist visuals that recall the original and an excellent electronic soundtrack – that make Asteroids: Recharged more than just a retro-futurist burst of nostalgia.
Asteroids: Recharged is available on PC, PS4/5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
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