Atari Mania Review thumbnail

Atari Mania Review

Microgames with a retro twist

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on 🕹️

Atari Mania is rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB

After bringing back many Recharged classics, Atari now tries their hand at the WarioWare formula so get ready to experience Atari Mania.

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Atari Mania screenshot 1
All I have to do is touch this candle to the boss? Easy!

Have you played Atari today?

I've been a huge fan of Atari almost my entire life, especially their classic arcade games. Although there have been oodles of compilations released over the years, I don't think there has ever been a crossover game that blends their classics together. Thankfully, Atari Mania is here to do just that. If you've ever played any WarioWare game then you'll immediately be familiar with the formula presented here as you're basically tasked with completing a succession of bite-sized microgames with a limited number of lives in the hopes of completing the final one. In between these segments, you'll wander around a museum as a caretaker while utilizing inventory items in order to solve simple puzzles and this adventure-style structure acts as a perfect counterbalance to the frantic microgames; it's a lot of fun! 😄 v1d30chumz 44-210-77-106

What is Bentley up to?

Considering Crystal Castles is one of my favourite Atari games, it delighted me to see that Bentley is the antagonist of Atari Mania. You see; he's tired of starring in his game while going through the same motions for 40 years so he decides to harness the power of dead pixels in order to claim freedom. It's such a silly premise for a game and the fact that you play as a caretaker of the Atari Vault is clever, especially because you'll meet many familiar Atari characters along the way; some of which are fresh takes on the classics such as Milli the Millipede. There are so many references and silly jokes that it was hard not to smile throughout every story sequence. 🤭

Atari Mania screenshot 2
Bentley has cool meme sunglasses now so I don't think he's listening

Master microgames

The collection of microgames in Atari Mania is full of variety and not only do you play through modern takes of retro games; you'll also enjoy many that blend elements of multiple games. For example, you'll shoot arrows while playing Pong, use a tank in a dungeon, and deflect balls while playing Centipede. Many of these mixtures are so unique that they feel like fresh experiences despite being based on classic games. Of course, you'll only play each one for a matter of seconds but they're still quite fun for the most part with some being more challenging than others. Meanwhile, you'll have to tackle more difficult boss stages that mostly involve figuring out how to master them which may require some repetition but once you move on and unlock the ability to re-play that section, it feels awesome. 😎

Collect retro treasures

As I mentioned, you'll play as the Caretaker in between microgame sessions and you'll do so in a Zelda-like structure where you explore a room-based hub area that's filled with puzzles. As you do so, you'll collect usable items such as a magnet that can attract metal objects, a hammer to smash pegs, and a grappling hook that latches onto walls to move them out of the way. There's also a broom that you can use to collect 50 piles of dust. What will happen when you get all of it? 🤔 Anyway, there are also 25 game manuals and 25 pieces of cover art to collect via solving puzzles, exploring, and playing optional microgame collections. However, collecting everything won't take all that long so I wish there were many more pieces of Atari memorabilia scattered around such as playable classic games, etc. 🤓

This museum could use an exterminator

Finally, although I enjoyed my time with Atari Mania, it has its issues. The most noticeable of which is just how clunky everything feels. For example, when you transition between a dialogue screen back to the museum, it can stall for a very long time which frequently made me worried that the game crashed. You also move around awkwardly and it's occasionally tricky to line yourself up properly while using items. When it comes to the microgames themselves, they're mostly well-done but there are some major bugs. For example, I once trapped the Pong ball between my paddle and the wall and after letting go, I scored on myself then the game wouldn't continue so I had to quit and restart. Another time, I perished for no reason at the top of the Millipede playfield. Did something swoop in? Who knows? 🤷

Atari Mania screenshot 3
I don't remember Asteroids being quite like this

Atari Mania offers a solid collection of microgames that are a lot more enjoyable if you're a fan of the classic arcade games represented in them. With that in mind, the overall experience could have been smoothed out a lot more to match its wily moustachioed competitor.

  • + Fun mix of microgame-filled mini-campaigns and adventure game structure
  • + Silly premise with loads of references
  • + Microgames mix things up exceptionally well
  • - Overall clunky feel with unsmooth transitions and awkward movement
  • - Currently has some annoying bugs
  • - I wish there were more collectibles
7.0 out of 10
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Watch A.J. play Atari Mania
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