Black Widow: Recharged Review thumbnail

Black Widow: Recharged Review

Twin-stick arcade mayhem

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS4 on 🕷️

Black Widow: Recharged is also available for PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Black Widow: Recharged is rated Everyone by the ESRB

Atari's series of Recharged classic arcade games now has a third installment with Black Widow so get ready for some insect-blasting.

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Black Widow: Recharged screenshot 1
These bugs don't stand a chance

Black Widow is one of the first examples of what we now call a twin-stick shooter. In fact, that and Robotron: 2084 essentially defined the genre way back in 1982. Although I'd argue that Robotron: 2084 has stood the test of time better than Black Widow has, there's no denying that both are still great fun. Black Widow: Recharged takes the basic premise of the original game and expands it with brand new weapon power-ups, a cool bomb-style special move, and more fluid gameplay. Thankfully, the original formula remains intact where you control a spider on a web as you shoot at incoming insects before they get the best of you. There's a wide variety of enemies to blast, too, with some that explode and others that lay eggs which you should push off the edge of your web if you don't want them to hatch into something devious. Overall, Black Widow: Recharged provides intuitive shooting action that makes chasing high scores fun. v1d30chumz 3-235-186-94

Black Widow: Recharged screenshot 2
Why not take a break and complete some challenges?

The changes in Black Widow: Recharged collectively act as a wonderful way to modernize the classic and the coolest addition is the aforementioned special move which you charge by collecting dollar signs that materialize whenever you defeat an enemy. Once its gauge is full, you'll hold a shoulder trigger to aim a cone from your spider which will destroy everything that's contained within it. Meanwhile, you have to watch your back whenever you perform this move because sneaky insects might creep up behind you while you're vulnerable. Of course, the power-ups are entertaining, too, with my favourite being a laser shot that wipes out everything in its path.

Revisit the origins of Black Widow

Even though Black Widow was never officially ported to any console back in the day (not even Atari 2600), you can enjoy the original 1982 game in all of its arcade glory via Atari Flashback Classics which includes 150 classic Atari games. That's a lot! 😅

Black Widow: Recharged also includes a few niceties to help extend its replay value. For starters, there's a large collection of challenges to master that will test your ability to survive specific scenarios; many of which are rather clever. You can also try and climb the leaderboards for these as well as the main arcade mode which can be tough with each attempt only lasting a few minutes; unless you're exceptionally good, that is. Additionally, you can play the arcade and challenges modes with a friend in co-op multiplayer which is awesome but not quite as fun as it is in Centipede: Recharged. Now that I mention it, Centipede is generally more enjoyable no matter how you play it.

Specifically, playing Black Widow: Recharged gets exhausting rather quickly seeing how simple and challenging it is. After a handful of arcade attempts and completing some challenges, everything becomes quite tiresome and repetitive. The graphics certainly don't help in this department seeing as it's primarily neon lines; it could definitely use more personality. Finally, almost every time you bite the dust by being snagged on an enemy insect or projectile, it comes as a surprise. To remedy this, it would have been awesome to have some sort of visual indication mixed with slow-down whenever an enemy is in super-close proximity. That would be cool indeed. 😊

Black Widow: Recharged screenshot 3
Feel my spidery fury!

Black Widow has been around since the origins of twin-stick shooting and this Recharged iteration does a decent job of modernizing the arcade classic but it could have done more to make it hold its own among its genre contemporaries. Insert obligatory spider pun here.

  • + Solid and simple twin-stick shooting with cool power-ups and enemy types
  • + Co-op and climbing leaderboards are fun
  • + Plenty of challenges to master
  • - Gameplay is a bit too basic and repetitive
  • - Could use some sort of near-death warning
  • - Visuals lack flair and personality
7.2 out of 10
Gameplay video for Black Widow: Recharged thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Black Widow: Recharged
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