I completely love the idea behind Atari Mania, a brand new microgame mash-up that turns the corporate’s widespread titles into Warioware-style chaos. I’m a bit cooler on the execution. That is maybe as a result of I skilled many of those video games first-hand, and might due to this fact see what they might have carried out with this idea.
I’ll allow you to determine if I’m being truthful. Atari Mania begins with you enjoying because the caretaker of the Atari Recreation Vault.
One night time you uncover a useless pixel that rapidly grows to suck in components from basic Atari video games. Though your job description seems to focus solely on sweeping, you bounce into the warp zone to avoid wasting the video games and return normalcy to the office.
Every zone you enter mashes up the gameplay of the titles sucked into it. An earlier stage that needs to be acquainted to everybody, for instance, sees you making an attempt to get rid of a Centipede with a Pong paddle. Get it? However you’ve received to do it rapidly. Every activity requires fast pondering and faster execution as you’re at all times going through down a timer. You’ll have to filter a string of those microgames, culminating in a boss battle of kinds, with out failing too many occasions. If that occurs, you’re kicked again to the Vault and must enter once more from the beginning.
Whereas we’re on the market, let’s discuss concerning the Vault for a minute. There’s extra to do than simply transfer between useless pixel areas. You’ll have to unravel puzzles to entry numerous areas, lots of which require you to be carrying/utilizing the right device, additionally from widespread Atari video games (I acknowledge that magnet, thanks). You may as well entry further problem ranges, discover hidden recreation field artwork and manuals, and so forth. It’s a retro fan’s 8-bit dream, actually, even when many of the gadgets you uncover don’t contribute to the gameplay. Taking the time to learn them simply slows issues down.
Anyway, shifting by means of the Vault is a enjoyable diversion from the frantic gameplay, and I appreciated the puzzles that have to be solved to push ahead. A few them stumped me for a bit, however by no means so lengthy that I had to surrender in frustration. It’s additionally enjoyable to see the characters react to what’s occurring and to anticipate how they’ll be used as soon as contained in the useless zone.
However that’s the place I used to be let down a bit. Too usually, the duties offered by the mash-up are merely to maneuver from right here to there with out being hit or to maintain one thing in play for a set time frame. The good thing about this method is the duties are simple to know and fast to play. The downside is that there’s plenty of repetition regardless of there being over 150 microgames.
That drawback is exacerbated by a shocking diploma of issue. The targets themselves aren’t terribly tough, however they’re unforgiving; you’ll fail if you happen to make even the slightest error. This implies you’ll find yourself enjoying the identical stage many occasions earlier than progressing. That’s a drag, contemplating the true pleasure of Atari Mania is seeing what video games will seem subsequent.
Each every so often, nevertheless, you’ll get a stage or sequence of microgames which are an entire pleasure to play, particularly in case you have a historical past with them. Video games I’d lengthy since forgotten make appearances, inflicting the nostalgia waves to crash exhausting in opposition to the breakwaters of my youth. And though the microgame method will get uneven, I want that over enjoying trustworthy updates to most of those video games, most of which don’t stand the take a look at of time. Video video games within the early ’80s weren’t meant to be performed individually for hours at a time. You performed one recreation for 10 minutes, received bored, and put in one other one. While you labored by means of your complete library, you went outdoors or turned on Spectreman. Atari Mania understands that.
It additionally understands the visuals, for probably the most half retaining the blocky visuals of the unique video games. The characters and gameplay components look the way in which you need them to, and Atari did a pleasant job of integrating video games from completely different eras.
They did even higher with the chiptune audio, which has been remixed as nicely.
The entire package deal comes collectively properly, however I’m undecided how a lot enjoyable it’ll be for individuals who didn’t play the unique variations of those video games. Atari Mania is carried by nostalgia, and it doesn’t have the legs to make it by means of with out it. I’m wondering if the corrupt vault idea would’ve labored higher as impetus for a straight journey by means of Atari’s historical past versus a technique to serve up microgames—one thing extra akin to Pong Quest. That recreation didn’t work as a result of Pong’s gameplay is just too primary to construct an journey round it. With the multitude of video games right here, that wouldn’t have been a difficulty.
An even bigger downside is that Atari Mania is single-player solely. Anybody who has performed a Warioware recreation is aware of that microgames are extra enjoyable with two individuals.
You maybe shouldn’t let these faults (or my evaluation) dissuade from enjoying Atari Mania, nevertheless. For those who spent your childhood huddled in entrance of a 2600 and your wealthy buddy’s 25″ TV, this recreation can have you trying up that buddy on Fb. These with out that connection, nevertheless, will seemingly have extra enjoyable working by means of Atari’s sequence of “Recharged” video games.
Me? I’m going to stop my job on the Vault and see if I can discover work throughout the road at Intellivision. Appears to me they’re in sore want of a high quality caretaker.