The 80s are famous for many great things. One such claim to fame is the incredible range of arcade games that thrived in this era. Consequently, modern developers still take inspiration from these addictive, simple, and fun experiences. However, Atari has taken it one step further with their Recharged series. This excellent endeavour revisits some of the best titles from the decade while giving them a modern polish. As such, the latest game to be looked at is Caverns of Mars: Recharged.
Developed by SneakyBox and published by Atari, this is a vertical-scrolling shooter. What’s more, it is full of challenges, is undeniably tough, but its fast-paced and hectic approach is wonderfully moreish. This 1981 staple was much-loved by its fan base and I fully expect this modern take to be equally loved. With neon hues, claustrophobic caverns, and cruel enemies, you’ll have to think fast and react faster if you wish to be successful.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged ups the ante.
In the original, players were treated to limited locations and a small range of weapons. Roll on 40+ years, and the core gameplay has been given an overhaul. Subsequently, the developers have added more levels to explore and a wider range of weapons to master. Furthermore, there is now a leaderboard to top, plenty of challenging missions to overcome, and an arcade mode to push you to your limit. Alongside this, you can play it solo or multiplayer and this enhances the fun factor further still.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged doesn’t have a story, but that is ok. Instead, you must fly your spaceship vertically through a maze of caverns to a central location. En route, you will have to destroy enemy vessels, blow up mines, avoid traps, and annihilate the scenery. Moreover, you are free to pick up weapon upgrades and you must collect energy containers if you wish to survive. Unfortunately, your ship has a limited power supply, and unless you top it up regularly, it’ll blow up and your run will be ended.
Same idea with a modern bite.
What I loved about this game is the familiar edge to its action. Accordingly, if you are a fan of the original, you won’t be aggrieved by the incorporation of modern ideas. Yet, it is these new elements that make it so moreish. In the arcade mode, there are modifiers that can alter the course of each run. Additionally, the randomness of each level will keep you guessing and the range of weapons ensures that you can try plenty of different tactics.
Alongside this, the main mode has a vast selection of missions that are tough to complete but rewarding to play. As your ship flies through each narrow path, you must think fast and plan your route. By shooting your guns, your ship stops, and this allows you time to think. However, if you wait too long, your energy levels will be depleted, and it is game over. Consequently, you must balance patience and speed perfectly if you are to overcome each stage.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged looks fantastic.
The Recharged series hasn’t disappointed me yet. Thankfully, Caverns of Mars: Recharged hasn’t bucked this trend! With stunning visuals and a vivid colour palette, it is a treat to the eyes. Furthermore, the simple but effective animations are smooth and daunting. The explosions are wonderfully OTT, and being chased by an enemy ship is horrific. Yet, this is nothing when you are hurtling through a narrow corridor. Accordingly, the developers have done an amazing job of creating a suspenseful title with limited assets and a simple idea.
This wouldn’t be a Recharged game if it didn’t have an amazing soundtrack. The loud and high-energy music is perfect for the madness that unfolds on screen. Moreover, the weapons and traps all sound incredible. With futuristic pings, booming explosions, and indescribable noises, the sound effects are uncomfortably brilliant.
Arcade gaming may be tough, but the controls are usually straightforward. Luckily, Caverns of Mars: Recharged is easy to understand and quick to pick up. What’s more, the simple UI and easy-to-navigate menus help to push you straight into the action. Though there isn’t a tutorial, the concept is so basic that a little trial and error is enough for you to nail the fundamentals.
Like the other games in the franchise, this one is moreish as hell. Subsequently, it has both replay value and longevity. On top of this, the inclusion of a multiplayer option and a leaderboard keeps you coming back for more. Furthermore, the arcade mode is tough to put down as it can be enjoyed casually between other titles.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged is another amazing addition to the series.
Whenever Atari announces a Recharged game, I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Rarely do they disappoint, and Caverns of Mars: Recharged was another amazing addition to the series. With striking visuals, incredible audio, and addictive action, this is a brilliant casual title. However, if I was to be critical, the challenges needed to be tougher to test veteran players. Yet, this is a minor complaint and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you make it through each level? Choose your path, destroy your foes, and keep your energy levels topped up.