Yars: Recharged Review thumbnail

Yars: Recharged Review

Edge-of-your-seat twin-stick action

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on 👾

Yars: Recharged is also available for PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch

Yars: Recharged is rated Everyone by the ESRB

If you asked me which Atari game would release next, I wouldn't have guessed Yars: Recharged would be it but it's here and it's great.

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Yars: Recharged screenshot 1
Time to plan my flight path to victory

Yars: Redefined

I fondly remember playing Yars' Revenge on my Atari 2600 back in the day and being perplexed by it but after learning the ropes, it got its hooks in me. With that in mind, Yars: Recharged isn't like the original at all. In fact, if you called it something else, I'd simply see it as an excellent twin-stick shooter and not realise that it's supposed to be in the same realm as Yars. Although this is odd, please understand that what we have here is one of the most impressive twin-stick shooters on the market. v1d30chumz 44-212-99-248

Intense twin-stick shooting

You're essentially tasked with exploding every Qotile Core before moving on to the next stage. In order to do so, you have to collect energy by destroying enemies and shields to charge your Zorlon Cannon then aim it perfectly. Meanwhile, the levels are filled with shields that you can either shoot at or eat with the latter being more powerful yet riskier. There are also oodles of Silorak Cores which when exploded, will rid the stage of the shields that it's in charge of. So, the gameplay essentially has you disassemble each level as meticulously as possible and you have to be quick or else the Cores will become more aggressive and projectiles will start firing from the sides of the screen. It's a lot to juggle but that's what makes it such a blast, especially considering the amount of challenge involved. 😊

Yars: Recharged screenshot 2
This challenge took me way too many attempts to complete

A good dose of strategy

That's a key thing to keep in mind; Yars: Recharged is challenging and even brutally so at times. You get 3 hit points when you start each stage but a blast from a Qotile Core will destroy you instantly so you'll have to stay on your toes 100% of the time. I absolutely love this sense of challenge and as I played, I developed strategies that thrusted me to #4 on the global leaderboards. For example, you'll eventually realise that different Silorak Cores drop distinct weapon power-ups so you can decide to blow up some shield-piercing laser cannons to reach specific faraway turrets that are causing you problems. In this sense, it feels almost puzzle-like which is great. 👍

Revisit the origins of Yars

Yars has been around since 1982 and has never had an arcade release. However, you can play the original Yars' Revenge as well as its 2005 sequel Yars' Return (both for Atari 2600) on Atari Flashback Classics as well as Atari Collection 1 and Atari Collection 2 for Evercade. There was also a weird reimagining of it released for Xbox 360 back in 2011 but let's not talk about that one. 😅

Ridiculous challenges

I could go on all day about how much I love Yars: Recharged's gameplay from its variety of cleverly-designed scenarios to its rewarding power-ups but I should move on to the modes. Like with most Atari Recharged games, there's a list of challenges to master here but this time, they're basically stages instead of situations that play with the rules. I actually prefer this approach because it keeps things simple yet still poses a steep sense of challenge. In fact, some of the challenges are so brutal that I actually got quite frustrated with them. Seeing as only 1% of gamers completed all of them, I can safely say that doing so will require a great deal of skill. I'm close, though! 😜

Space junk

On top of the leaderboards which I loved climbing and look forward to getting a top 3 spot one day, there's also a co-op mode which is very fun even if I prefer playing Yars: Recharged solo. Anyway, I enjoyed the unambiguous visuals and audio that's full of blasts, lasers, and excellent music. However, there are some audio issues. Specifically, the charging sounds of the Qotile Cores aren't always in sync (they sometimes fire before the charging sound is done) which made me lose my life more than a few times as I relied on the audio telegraph. There were also plenty of moments when the audio would cut out almost completely which left me confused and disoriented. 🥴

Yars: Recharged screenshot 3
And here I thought that previous challenge was tough!

Yars: Recharged is by far the best Atari Recharged game so far and one of the most enjoyable twin-stick shooters that I've ever played. With its impressively strategic elements and brutally difficult challenges, I can't stop wanting to play it so I think I'll go do that now.

  • + Awesome twin-stick action that requires a great deal of strategy to succeed
  • + Incredible stage-based challenges
  • + Co-op and leaderboards add replay value
  • - Some of the challenges are downright infuriating
  • - Has a few odd issues with audio
8.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Yars: Recharged thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Yars: Recharged
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