We’ve been pretty impressed with Atari’s ‘Recharged’ range. These games revitalise classic Atari titles with modern visuals and new gameplay modes and the results have been, so far, rather delightful. The latest, Quantum Recharged, is no different, and this tough-as-nails little game is going to keep us coming back for more for months to come. Suckers for punishment that we are.
The original Quantum released back in 1982, and it saw players direct a probe to draw circles in which to capture particles. The more particles you manage to capture, the higher your score. If your probe gets hit by a particle, though, then it’s game over. Quantum Recharged has exactly the same premise. The only difference is the 40-year-old game has been brought into the 21st century with clean, colourful visuals, the addition of missions and a handful of new arcade modes to jump into.
The premise of Quantum Recharged couldn’t be more simple, really, but in practice this is a fiendish game that takes no prisoners. Avoiding colliding with particles is difficult, especially when there’s a lot going on on-screen, and before you know it you’ll be staring at a ‘Game Over’ screen. Practice makes perfect though, and this is exactly the sort of game that you’ll keep coming back to again and again, desperate to complete just one more mission or beat your last high score.
There are two ways to play: Arcade mode and Missions. Within arcade mode, you can jump into a straightforward game which gives you three lives and challenges you to get the highest score you can. You can also turn on some modifiers: Iron Man gives you just one life, and Extreme throws in more enemies. Play on either of these modes, and your final score will be doubled. Zen mode, on the other hand, gives you infinite lives – instead, getting hit simply reduces your combo meter – and tasks you with getting the highest score you can in four minutes. Your score will be halved in Zen mode.
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Missions are set levels which give you a particular goal, but unfortunately the goals are rather basic: the vast majority of missions simply want you to kill all enemies. Occasionally you’ll be against the clock, or challenged to reach a particular score, but it’s a shame there’s not more variety. Still, working through them provides a nice sense of progression.
No matter what mode you choose to play Quantum Recharged on, when you get into the groove of its gameplay, it’s incredibly engaging and trance-like as you dance between particles, dodging and diving out of the way and filling the screen with glowing blue circles. It can so very quickly come crashing down, though: just one rogue particle is all it takes to take you out of the zone.
Simple but beautifully presented, Quantum Recharged is another modern arcade hit, giving Atari’s forgotten classics a new lease of life. We’d have liked to see a little more variety in the Mission mode, but it’s hardly a dealbreaker: the basic gameplay loop is enjoyable enough that even the thrill of trying to beat our high score time and time again will keep us coming back.