Atari Flashback Classics Review thumbnail

Atari Flashback Classics Review

The definitive Atari anthology

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

Atari Flashback Classics is also available for PS Vita / PSTV

Atari Flashback Classics is rated Everyone by the ESRB

Few game companies have survived as long as Atari and now we have a massive collection of 150 games to celebrate their legacy.

│ Just like in nearly all our reviews, you can watch A.J. play Atari Flashback Classics below so you can judge accordingly. ▶️

Atari Flashback Classics screenshot 1
Twin-stick shooters don't get much more classic than Black Widow!

Over the past couple of years, Atari has released 3 volumes of their game catalog with each containing 50 games. This generically named compilation for Switch is basically all 3 of these volumes in one comprehensive package. That's right; you get to enjoy 32 arcade games, 102 Atari 2600 games, and 16 Atari 5200 games in one convenient collection. If you'd like to learn about some of the games as well as see which titles are included then you can head over to my reviews of Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3 where I go into a significant amount of depth as well as list each individual game. Needless to say, 150 games is a lot and no matter which kind of gamer you are, you'll find hours upon hours of entertainment within Atari Flashback Classics. Those with a soft spot for retro games will have a ton of fun while hardcore classic gamers will absolutely love the ability to play plenty of unreleased prototypes and other rarities. v1d30chumz 3-235-186-94

One thing that Atari Flashback Classics for Switch does exceptionally well is thoroughly utilize the console's capabilities. Of course, you can play it on the big screen or on-the-go which is awesome. Plus, playing it portably allows you to rotate the display so you can enjoy the games vertically. Not only that, games that used paddle controllers now allow you to simply touch the screen so you can slide your finger in order to control the game. For the record, I controlled these games by holding my finger underneath the paddle so I could see all the onscreen action and it works beautifully. With so many control options, playing these games is super-intuitive.

Atari Flashback Classics screenshot 2
Asteroids may be almost 40 years old but it's still a ton of fun

Another aspect that's very well implemented is all the supplementary features. For starters, you can easily join online multiplayer hubs as well as post your high scores for most of the arcade games to their respective leaderboards. In order to make up for Nintendo's lack of achievement / trophy system, there are even 66 unlockable achievements to collect, some of which can be rather tricky. Next, each console game includes scanned manuals and materials. This is very cool, especially for the Swordquest games which have awesome fantasy comic books that tightly connect with the games. Finally, there are plenty of options that you can tinker with to optimize your experience such as fiddling with control schemes, changing game rules, making the games look more authentic or clear, etc.

All of that being said, I can't help but wish there was more museum-style content. The recently released SNK 40th Anniversary Collection absolutely nailed this component by featuring tons of interactive and interesting materials. I would have loved to see some interviews, photos, sound tests, and scans of magazines and such. Obviously, this is a very impressive compilation but these materials would have made it even more awesome. Another area where modern gamers should take caution is the fact that many of the included console games haven't held up well and can be downright confusing to play. Most of the arcade games are generally easy to pick up and play but the other games can be quite clunky and require a lot of practice and reading to simply learn how to play them effectively.

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Maze Invaders is a hidden gem that any retro gamer will love

Atari Flashback Classics for Switch is one of the biggest and best classic game compilations ever produced. Not only are there a ton of enjoyable games for any kind of gamer, everything is implemented spot-on for big screen or on-the-go retro fun.

  • + Contains 150 classics and rarities for arcade, Atari 2600, and Atari 5200
  • + Perfectly makes use of the Switch
  • + Awesome supplementary features
  • - Many of the console games don't hold up well and can be confusing to play
  • - Could use more museum-style content
8.5 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play Atari Flashback Classics
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