Friday 30 October 2020

Atari Collection 1 (Evercade Review)

The first Atari collection for the Evercade contains twenty game split across the Atari 2600 and 7800 systems. These two systems aren’t ones that appear too often in terms of collections so it provides those interested in a slice of gaming history a different place to start. That said, whether having a collection 2600 arcade ports is something the gaming community wants or needs is something else entirely.

The 2600 games are a mixed bag in terms of quality and many of them simply don’t hold up well anymore. This isn’t a greatest hits collection by any means and many of these wouldn’t be troubling the tops spots on any Atari 2600 games list. Gravitar, Missile Command Centipede and Asteroids offer speedy, solid representations of their arcade counterparts but the two standout games are Adventure and Aquaventure.

Adventure does an excellent job of creating an engaging quest with minimal graphics and is rightly regarded as something of a land mark title. Aquaventure has you descending into the depths, avoiding enemies so that you can grab treasure and then trying to get back to the surface in one piece. It’s remarkably addictive and will have you returning long after the novelty of many of the other titles has worn off.

The standout among the 7800 games is Ninja Golf. A crazy mix between golf and a scrolling fighter, it has players running to where they have hit their ball while fighting off a wide variety of enemies such as ninja’s, snakes and sharks. The environment and enemies change depending on if you are in the water, rough or on the fairway and once the green is reached you face a showdown with a dragon from a first person perspective. It’s the sort of hidden gem we would like to see more of on the Evercade. Unfortunately the other 7800 games aren’t anything really to write home about.

Overall, the first Evercade Atari collection is a mixed bag. There are only three games here that we would whole heartedly recommend but they are real highlights. The cartridge is interesting and does showcase an often overlooked part of gaming history. The relatively low price does make it easier to recommend in order to get hold of Ninja Golf, but there’s no hiding the fact that there are far better examples of the 2600 and 7800 out there that could have been included. A cautious thumbs up for retro fans then.


Game Ratings:


Ninja Golf         5/5                                                  

Alien Brigade    2/5                                           

Food Fight         3/5                                                  

Motor Psycho    3/5                                            


Adventure         4/5   

Aquaventure     4/5

Asteroids          3/5

Double Dunk    1/5

Centipede         3/5

Crystal Castles 2/5

Canyon Bomber 2/5

Desert Falcon    3/5

Gravitar             3/5

Missile Command 3/5

Night Driver     1/5   

Steeple Chase   2/5

Swordquest      3/5

Tempest           2/5

Video Pinball   2/5

Yars Return      1/5                                  

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Nintendo Switch Roundup 3: Roguelikes

Dead Cells

An early contender for the systems ‘indie darling’ Dead Cells has continued to expand and develop since its release. There is certainly a lot of game here for players that click with its action platform groove. The different areas are varied and offer just the right amount of risk reward to entice players to explore for hidden treasures (and probably die in the process). The only major issue we had with it was that the games frame rate stutters at times which can lead to confusion and often death. The bosses are also particularly challenging and will see many hit a substantial wall that stops them progressing on to see all it has to offer.



For those that like their adventuring more from the top down point of view Moonlighter represents a charming time sink to get into. At night you explore one of four themed dungeons retrieving loot and slaying beasts and by day you put things on sale in your shop to raise gold. It creates a compelling loop that allows players to feel like they are progressing even when life in the dungeons isn’t going well. Even with upgrades to equipment there is still a good level of skill required to overcome the games gigantic bosses but the challenge is never overwhelming to the point that you are likely to give up and dedicated players will be onto new game+ before they know it. It’s a unique mix of styles that works well and should be sort out by the adventurous types out there.



A simple, yet effective, platformer of sorts, Downwell is a pure shot of adrenaline which works perfectly in small sessions. Players have to guide themselves down a well while using there gun boots to blast away at rocks and the many enemies they encounter. A host of new power ups and styles are available and the action is always intense and fast moving. It’s also unbelievably cheap to get hold of (around £1.99), and really there is no excuse not to give it a try.


Void Bastards

Just to prove that rogue elements will work in just about any genre here we have a FPS take on it heavily inspired by system shock. Players must guide their ramshackle ship along a galaxy map stopping at derelict vessels to scavenge for food, fuel and parts to continue on. The cartoon style of the graphics and sharp script create a game both funny and terrifying in equal measure and help to ease the pain of the many deaths you will encounter. Creatures and ships are varied and fun to explore, though we did find ourselves in later levels running onto a ship, grabbing whichever part we needed and legging it a little too often. The occasional frame rate glitch is also present but in this case rarely causes a problem. It’s not overly long either which means you’ll be diving into the challenges and other extras while you are still hungry for more.


Black Future 88

If you like your roguelike set in a dystopian future inspired by Blade Runner then Black Future 88 may well be the game you’ve always dreamed of. Glowing neon and pounding synths accompany players as they have minutes to make it up a procedurally generated tower and topple the evil Duncan. The action is insanely intense and unrelenting as you blast and slash your way through a crazy assortment of enemies and bosses. There a numerous weapons and buffs that can be unlocked along the way and countless different systems you will have to balance out to have a decent shot at getting to the top in one piece. The only down side is that there is so much going on that when played in handheld mode it can get difficult to see at times. This really is an overlooked gem that everyone should experience.