There have been many Atari Recharged games recently and that's great so here's the latest with the more obscure Gravitar: Recharged.
An obscure classic
Gravitar is one of those classic arcade games that retro enthusiasts are mostly familiar with but it's definitely not on the tips of many gamers' tongues when they're asked to name an iconic Atari game. As a huge fan of Atari's retro catalog, I've personally only played it a few times as I prefer sinking my time into more immediately gratifying arcade hits such as Asteroids, Missile Command, and Crystal Castles. However, it's still a stand-out game due to its multi-layered gameplay where you control a space ship to enter planets' airspace then carry out missions while you're there. It may not be as easily recognizable as Pac-Man or Donkey Kong but it's a solid game nonetheless. v1d30chumz 18-232-59-38
A nifty remake
Thankfully, Gravitar: Recharged faithfully translates this formula for the modern age while maintaining intuitive controls where you accelerate and rotate your ship while dealing with a slight gravitational pull. You can also shoot and use a grappling field in order to suck in any power-ups and items that you may come across. That's right; as tradition with these Atari Recharged releases, there is a selection of power-ups and some of them can be quite helpful such as one that makes you temporarily invincible. Considering the mechanics are super-sensitive and require a lot of patience and precision as you try not to touch any wall, becoming invincible for even a brief moment is always welcome. Plus, carefully aiming your ship to spread 3 shots in the hopes of taking out a faraway enemy is always a treat. 😊
Whereas previous Atari Recharged games featured ever-changing hues as you focus on 1 screen, Gravitar: Recharged has a much more defined visual aesthetic and colour palette. In fact, it reminds me a lot of PixelJunk Shooter albeit with less water and we wouldn't want too much water, right? Anyway, the clear and unambiguous visuals are accompanied by a chill soundtrack from series regular composer Megan McDuffee. Plus, the explosions and gunfire from blasts to laser zaps really stand out which makes combat even more fun.
Revisit the origins of Gravitar
Gravitar debuted in 1982 and although it hasn't seen as many ports and sequels as other Atari classics, you can play the original arcade version as well as the Atari 2600 port via Atari Flashback Classics which includes 150 games in total. 😄
In addition to arcade mode where you fly around then take on planets in order to try for a high score, you can also challenge individual missions if you want to hone your skills. Considering there's a wide variety of planet types that will have you collecting intel, blowing up reactors, activating satellites, and more; it's awesome that you can practice some challenging scenarios in this mode. That being said, I wish there was some sort of campaign as Gravitar could lend its gameplay well to a story-based succession of levels as opposed to the classic high score chasing formula which doesn't really mesh all that well with the core gameplay, especially as a modern remake.
Speaking of not meshing well, you can play Gravitar: Recharged multiplayer with a co-op chum but I found that it took more away from the experience than added to it. The most conflicting aspect that contributes to this is the fact that utmost precision is required to get in, complete your mission, and get out. So, when you're flying around with a friend, it can be highly frustrating if they're not as skilled as you and the rubber band between you can be incredibly problematic; never mind the fact that completing missions cooperatively feels a bit redundant because there are no co-op mechanics that make you work together in place. In other words, play this one solo.
Gravitar: Recharged is a challenging remake of a classic that requires precision and patience to master. If that sounds like your kind of game then you'll surely enjoy yourself but less patient gamers should remain wary before taking off.
- + Mastering the controls and high degree of challenge is exceptionally rewarding
- + Decent variety of planet types
- + Practicing in mission mode is enjoyable
- - Multiplayer doesn't mesh well with the precision-based gameplay
- - Sensitive mechanics require a lot of patience
- - Could use some sort of campaign