Asteroids: Recharged • A Short History + Review

Asteroids: Recharged, the third entry in the Atari Recharged series is coming to all consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Atari VCS) and PC today, December 14th. So far, we’ve seen two games, Centipede and Black Widow, receive the “recharged” treatment with others on the way. It’s great to see that Atari has found a certain style that they’ve been able to implement into these three games to give them a sort of uniform style.

A Very Short History

Asteroids is one game that I’m pretty familiar with. I remember playing on arcade cabinets and in certain retro game collections over the years. The original Asteroids was released in 1979 and was another arcade instant classic.

In Asteroids, the player gets to pilot a spaceship and try their luck against floating asteroids along with flying saucers. Asteroids come in all shapes and sizes, with the larger ones splitting into smaller asteroids until they are completely vaporized by your lasers.

The Game Recharged!

Asteroids: Recharged • Gameplay Video

What makes Asteroids: Recharged stand out from the first two games in the series (Centipede and Black Widow) is the movement. In the first two games your movements were controlled by the left joystick. In this one, you use your rockets to move. The first two games focus on quick movements, while this one (to me) is more focused on staying in one small area to avoid getting hit.

In Asteroids your ship is the constant as all of the variables (aka asteroids and spaceships) continue to move around you — at least that’s how it works for my play style. I found that the more I moved the quicker I would die. Anytime I would attempt to quickly fly around the screen I would instantly hit something and lose.

Like the Recharged games that came before it, in Asteroids you only get one shot. If you make one mistake, hit one enemy, get shot one time you lose. Game over. You better hope you got that high score.

There are two types of “enemy” in this game. The first are asteroids. The second type are alien space crafts. While many of them don’t attack you, some shoot rockets which you have to keep an eye out for. You can’t shoot their rockets so instead you must dodge them.

Something helpful that I’m not sure was in the original title is the teleport mechanic. By pressing a button (triangle on PlayStation consoles), your ship will teleport to some other spot nearby. This is very helpful when you notice you’re ship is about to be struck by an asteroid or an unidentified flying object.

Asteroids: Recharged • Challenge Mode

Asteroids: Recharged offers two modes, arcade and challenge mode. Both can be played solo (single player) or with a buddy (co-op). The challenge mode sort of gives you a story mode to complete. Challenges are made up of different objectives, many of which have a different set up than playing a normal arcade round.

While many of these classic arcade games are built to be replayed over and over attempting to beat high scores, I find it refreshing that the team has also added these challenges to give us something that feels a little different.

Many of the Power Ups are the same ones I’ve seen in the first two games, and that makes sense. I have seen some that look new to me. That’s a great strategy, to search through each games power ups, pick the ones that work for the next game and then start adding some that are unique to the game.

For those interested in trophies it’s always nice to be able to view all the trophies, along with their details within the game. You can also track your progress on each trophy using the trophy page.

The Verdict

Just like it’s predecessors (in the Recharged series), Asteroids: Recharged is a fresh new take on a classic beloved arcade game. It is made up of the base game but with a new graphical style, new music, added power ups and more. Every time a new Atari Recharged game is released I’m super stoked to give it a try.

Asteroids: Recharged • Gameplay screenshot

Another small advantage to these games is that they take up very little space on your hard drive, by the time we have the full library of Atari Recharged, you’ll be able to keep them all on your console or PC at under 1 GB total.

We’ve seen many publishers and developers try to bring back old gaming properties in brand new ways and many times it hasn’t worked out. The thing Atari is doing right is they are keeping the familiarity of the originals, but only adding a few new quality of life improvements to make these games more accessible to their audience today.

Asteroids: Recharged is out today, December 14th on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, Nintendo Switch, Atari VCS and PC.

* was provided a review copy for Asteroids: Recharged.

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