Friday 25 June 2021

Atari Lynx Collection 1 Review (Evercade)


Atari’s handheld is getting a much deserved lease of life on the Evercade. While the second collection arguably contains the more high profile Lynx releases,  this one still contains a number of games that often pop up on the ‘must have’ lists for the console. Seventeen Lynx cartridges are included here and they cover a wide range of genres. For the most part they are also pretty strong which helps to cements the Evercade as a truly viable alternative to the original hardware.

The cart contains a mixture of sport, platform, puzzle and arcade games along with a few curios such as the Megapak which is really just some fancy filler containing a calculator and a game and watch game. The other game that doesn’t really fit the mould is point and click adventure Dracula the Undead. Remarkable the Lynx interface for the game works really well and allows for an enjoyable experience for players exploring the castle.

The sports games included contain the weak Basket Brawl, but also the excellent Awesome Golf – which certainly lives up to its name. There’s a whole host of courses and clubs to pick from and it works perfectly as pick up and play title that also contains a surprising amount of depth. Malibu Biki Volleyball is a solid representation of the sport certainly fun in small doses and Jimmy Connors Tennis, though tricky to start, has a wealth of opponents and techniques to play with. It’s remarkable how well most of these retro sports titles hold up and there are certainly hours to be lost here for many a gamer on the move.

Puzzles games are also well represented. Xump is an addictive little game where players collapse platforms and have to plot a route to eliminate all of them in order to win the level. The basic premise is played around with as you progress introducing platforms that need to be touched more than once along with a host of other things which keep the experience compelling throughout.

Loopz is a shape matching game where players have to create loops of pipe in an enclosed area against the clock. Once a pipe loop has been formed it disappears (much like Tetris), and the score hunting continues. Ishido: The Way of the Stones, is a Shanghai-like matching games that is stupidly addictive and likely to take up far more of your time than it should. All of these games are welcome additions to the collection.

Perhaps unexpectedly there are also two 3D style games included. Unfortunately, neither of them is the exceptional port of Battlezone. Remanant, is the space take on it and it’s a little basic but Cyber Virus is a much better candidate for your time with some decent graphics and far more varied missions structure. We just hope Battlezone makes its way to the console in the future.

The collection also has a host of good platform games included. Scrapyard Dog is a basic, but great fun, handheld platform game. Players need to avoid enemies and make their way to end of each level as you chase after your stolen dog. Levels are varied in design and once you get used to the difficulty it’s a rewarding experience, it has some Gameboy Mario-esque flying sections. Gordo 106, follows much in the same vein as you play as a monkey trying to escape from a lab by throwing apples at scientists and avoiding traps. It’s another highlight from an already packed collection.

A slightly different take on the genre comes in the form of Power Factor. It takes more of a run and gun approach and also allows your character to fly around. It could do with the camera being zoomed out a bit as it can be difficult to avoid obstacles and traps but it remains a solid overall experience that is still worth playing.

Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure, is an excellent take on the Boulder Dash/ Repton style and also contains several hundred levels to get through. It’s always adding something to the mix to keep things fresh as well and is one of the games you are likely to return to again and again. Just remember to bring your patience with you as this game can be tough.

The Lynx always did arcade conversions well and the Super Asteroids/Missile Command double included on here out performs the previous versions we have had on the Evercade. We are confident to say that these will be the versions that fans will return to the most.

The final game here is Super Sqweek which tries to combine elements from a ton of different sources into one glorious mess. The basic idea is you have to change the colour of tiles by walking over them and then when enough have been changed you can reach the exit. There are traps and enemies to avoid and you can also shoot which adds a sort of top down blaster element. There’s tons of things to play around with here and it’s a wonderfully unique and inventive game and this is a very good version of it.

Overall, the first Lynx collection may not have the big names that the second one does but contains so much quality spread across so many different genres that it is an utterly essential purchase. It ticks all the boxes and brings together a strong line up from a console that is difficult to source. This is the sort of collection that we hope we see more of on the Evercade and it’s one of the strongest releases available.

Overall –

Scrapyard Dog                                                                   4/5

Basketbrawl                                                                       2/5

Super Asteroids/Missile Command®                               4/5

Awesome Golf                                                                  4/5

Crystal Mines II: Buried Treasure                                    4/5

CyberVirus                                                                        3/5

Dracula the Undead                                                          3/5

Gordo 106                                                                         4/5

Ishido: The Way of Stones                                               4/5

Jimmy Connors Tennis                                                     3/5

Loopz                                                                                3/5

Malibu Bikini Volleyball                                                  3/5

MegaPak                                                                           N/A

Power Factor                                                                     3/5

Remnant                                                                            2/5

Super Sqweek                                                                   4/5

Xump                                                                                 4/5

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