Atari’s Missile Command has returned for a new generation with the release of Nickervision Studios’ Missile Command: Recharged. 40 years have passed since the original hit the scene – does this re-imagining prove the timelessness of this arcade blaster, or should the past stay buried?
Missile Command: Recharged Review
When the original Missile Command came out way back when, the objective was simple – protect your base from a never-ending barrage of missiles by launching missiles of your own through three different silos. Though silos can regenerate, buildings do not, so it pays to be mindful of your surroundings. Your ultimate goal? Survive as long as possible, get a high score, and improve your gaming prowess along the way.
Missile Command: Recharged has all of the underpinnings of the original, but throws in some wrinkles to make things sparkly and new. Power-ups that include bombs, rapid fire, and shields pop up from time to time, and the enemy threat is a bit more varied this time around. Visuals have gotten a noticeable neon facelift, though its minimalism still shines through. It’s just a shame there isn’t more done to make things pop – the single song is somewhat limiting, and the flash pales in comparison to other neon-based wonders like the Geometry Wars series.
This title might be part and parcel similar to the original, but does the gameplay hold up? It depends.
Those who have played other score chasers like Galaga and Asteroids will be over the moon with the style of gameplay here. While some may argue that the use of the mouse makes things a considerable amount easier, the core gameplay loop that took countless quarters is still present and accounted for. It does lack variety – other arcade classics like Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong have got it beat – but what is here is serviceable enough for those looking for it.
However, there is one addition to Missile Command: Recharged that one may consider sacrilege. Points accumulated on the battlefield can be used to purchase upgrades in one of four different flavors – “Power,” “Reload,” “Speed,” and “Rebuild.” The first level of upgrade costs a paltry 1,000 points, and though later levels cost a great deal more, those that grind and persevere can essentially break the game with the sheer advantage these maxed out upgrades provide. It’s a double-edged sword, one that exchanges short term replayability for its pure skill-based arcade roots.
Score chasers can take advantage of a global online leaderboard, though we encountered an error message when we tried loading it up during our playthrough. There are also achievements tied to earning a set amount of points in a single round, along with ones for maxing out all upgrades.
Missile Command: Recharged still has the underpinnings of the Atari classic holding everything together, but the upgrade system is a double-edged sword that has the potential to break the game. Though this is not a dealbreaker, this change unfortunately trades skill for grinding.
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