Yars Recharged. Atari’s Latest Update is Awesome!

19 Sep

Yar's RevengeAvailable on Steam, Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox

Adamvision Studios must love bugs. Their early Atari Recharged games was all about either squashing them or being one. The latest, Yars Recharged, offers a modern take of the classic Yars Revenge game for the Atari 2600 and it works very well with the modern controller. 

Those devices were simpler back then. The joystick was all players had to control their avatars, and the little insect warrior only had one task–nibble away at the enemy defenses. The navigation is far more intuitive in this update, since one stick flies Yar around and the other positions where he spits. Unlike Asteroids, getting used to controls took no time at all to master.

As much as I would like to have all the Atari’s Recharged videogames on one device, not every game is worth playing. Breakout demands a paddle controller, plain and simple. I tried Gravitar, but it wasn’t for me since I had no fondness for the original. Much like the last game I reviewed, Asteroids, I prefer an arcade (fight stick) controller to navigate around. Stick controls just don’t cut it with certain games. The only continuing issue with this line is that players only have one life!

This game at least offers a health bar to show just how hurt the insect is. All it takes is three hits and it’s game over.

Screenshot

Also, the barrier that was persistent in the original game is a safety zone Yar can fly to to stay safe. In this update, it only appears after you get enough power to summon the ultra cannon to zap the enemy. It’s a curious change, but I can go with it, since most players can defeat the Qotile boss with two shots.

Thankfully, when players finish a level, health is fully restored. But I feel that’s not enough. I’d love to see some in-game help since dodging those pulse blasts from the Qotile cannons (the enemy) isn’t always easy. When you navigate closer to the fort, energy can be collected faster so you can destroy the Zorlon cannon while breaching the castle’s defences.

The key features which make this game an ongoing challenge lies more on the 30 unique missions. Not all of them are unlocked right away, and I find these scenarios are tougher than arcade mode. Even after a a month, I’m still not on the leaderboard and that’s to be expected. This game is tough for all the right reasons, and for some odd reason, the game is having trouble going online to record your personal best. I don’t expect to be on the leaderboard, but when compared to other players with better hand-eye coordination, to advance through this game makes for a worthy esport.

Screenshot

Even when I’m not playing, I can let the music from Megan McDuffee play in the background. It’s supposed to include audio cues to help players along, but I didn’t hear it. Instead, what I imagined were the sound effects of the old classic. It’s tough not to imagine, because it was a game I fondly loved. As for this new version, the passion has kept my interest up even after a month. Unlike the other Reloaded games which I’ve generally stopped regularly playing, this game and Centipede are tops.

Because there’s no save point in Yars Recharged, I’ll always be playing time and time again. Sometimes advancing is tough, because I’m often mistakingly drawn to the enemy fire, like a moth to a flame.

3½ Stars out of 5

Yars Recharged Gameplay

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