The Atari Recharged series is going strong and for this 4th release, here's a remake of a static shooter classic with Asteroids: Recharged.
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Asteroids is a stone cold classic and I've enjoyed many iterations of it from playing it in arcades to the 3D PS1 remake. So, I'm happy to say that Asteroids: Recharged does a very good job of bringing back the arcade shooting formula while offering its own spin on the classic. For starters, the now-expected neon visuals from previous Recharged releases remains intact and it's just as fun to watch the hues change as you progress and get higher scores. Meanwhile, there are power-ups as well which is always the main upgraded feature when you compare these versions to their '80s arcade counterparts. This time, the power-ups do an excellent job of complementing the gameplay as you'll acquire anything from steady rotatable lasers that devastate everything in their path to explosive missiles that blow up anything within its radius whenever it hits something. It all comes together to make for a familiar and intuitive shooting experience. v1d30chumz 100-24-118-144
Controlling Asteroids: Recharged is simple as all you do is rotate by tilting left and right on the analogue stick, hold a face button to shoot, and press the right shoulder trigger whenever you want to move out of harm's way. There's also a warp button although I advise against using it unless you're in an exceptionally sticky situation because it can be tricky to adjust after you re-emerge. Although all of this is handled intuitively, I still wish you could re-map the controls because like most retro gamers, I'd much rather use the D-pad to rotate.
Revisit the origins of Asteroids
If you're interested in playing the original Asteroids then be sure to check out Atari Flashback Classics which features the original arcade version and its arcade follow-up Asteroids Deluxe as well as the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 adaptations, too; the latter of which was previously unreleased. Plus, if you want a couple of more obscure iterations then Evercade Atari Collection 2 includes the Atari 7800 version and Evercade Atari Lynx Collection 1 has Super Asteroids & Missile Command. Phew; that's a lot! 😅
When it comes to content, you can play Asteroids: Recharged via its arcade mode or tackle a variety of challenges. No matter which mode you play, you can enjoy the action cooperatively with a friend which makes the gameplay even more fun even if it's a lot easier with double the firepower. The challenges themselves are plentiful and varied so climbing the leaderboards for each one is a ton of fun, especially with the fantastic pumping soundtrack that goes hand-in-hand with the neon aesthetic and retro gameplay.
On the downside, arcade mode runs are dictated by luck a bit more than I would have liked as some attempts will constantly grant you awesome power-ups while during others, you'll primarily get weak ones then to make matters worse, a horde of missile-firing UFOs may sweep in and end your run in an instant. It's really quite random and when you factor in odd bugs like severe graphical stutters whenever you activate certain power-ups and leaderboards that don't seem to work half the time, it can be kind of a bummer. I also wish that the graphics featured more detail, especially for your ship which remains a simple triangular cursor. Why not spruce it up a bit? 🤔
Asteroids: Recharged is up there with the best of Atari's Recharged releases and it's even more fun with a friend. So, if you have fond memories of the 1979 arcade classic or just want to play some simple static shooting, you'll definitely enjoy this spacefaring blastfest.
- + Classic Asteroids action with clever power-ups and enjoyable co-op play
- + Great music and unambiguous neon visuals
- + Challenges are varied and rewarding
- - Some runs can feel unfair due to surprise enemy onslaughts and weak power-ups
- - Graphics could use more detail
- - Occasional stutters and bugs