Monday 13 March 2023

Caverns of Mars: Recharged Review (Switch)

Atari’s recharged series continues to mine from the companies rich back catalogue. We’ve covered some of these before with Gravitar proving to be a blast of arcade fun. We’ll admit to not having played Caverns of Mars before so we are coming into this completely blind.

Like most of these arcade recharges, the gameplay loop is fairly simple. You control your spaceship at it plummets, at speed, ever downward. There’s no way to fly back up so it’s all about avoiding obstacles and blasting enemies to survive. When you reach the bottom of the level it’s on to the next one.

You can’t stop yourself falling but you can slow yourself down by firing your weapon. Each shot fired stalls your downward momentum but you are limited to the amount of fuel you are carrying which continually depletes as you fire. If you completely run out you’ll be falling endlessly with no means of defence so it pays to be cautious. You can also upgrade your gun to things like a triple shot or fast blasting to help your descent.

Your main enemy isn’t the other ships in the levels but the terrain itself. Any hit will reduce your health until you eventually explode. You can blast any terrain away but this can take up a lot of fuel and also often doesn’t give you enough room to safely get through, so it’s often best you try and weave through it and just blast bits off the edges.

The main arcade mode is tough as well, only giving you one life to get through all the levels. There’s no checkpoints or level unlocks either so expect to go through all the levels at once in order to beat the game. There are also missions included which are basically individual courses set up for high score runs. But basically it’s you against the walls until you explode.

Overall, Caverns of Mars: Recharged is one of the better games in the series. It’s setup for short bursts of play and it succeeds in giving a pure blast of arcade action. It looks and sounds great and the controls are very smooth as well. As long as you don’t go in expecting a game with lasting depth there’s more than enough have fun with here.

Overall 7/10

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