Remember when the Xbox Series X released and didn’t have any launch titles to go with it? This was a far cry away from the humble Atari 7800, a console that came with a game built in: Asteroids; my first exposure to this absolute classic. Load the console up without a cartridge slotted in and it would launch this seminal arcade space shooter. That is no longer the case here, but Asteroids: Recharged won’t require a new console to play as it arrives on Xbox in a new and rebooted manner. How has one of the earliest video games fared in the 21st Century and the age of reboots and revamps?
Asteroids: Recharged doesn’t so much as bring the original kicking and screaming into the next generation, but it does progress things somewhat. The classic gameplay is still present; pilot a triangular ship and shoot and dodge the asteroids that fill the screen. Last for as long as possible to achieve the highest score. No story, no cutscenes, not even a tutorial. It is how games used to be; simple, but above all else, fun.
This isn’t the first ‘Recharged’ game to come from Atari in recent times. Asteroids follows in the footsteps of Black Widow: Recharged, Centipede: Recharged and Missile Command: Recharged. Each of these adopted a neon colour palette for their revamp and Asteroids: Recharged is no different. In the case of Asteroids though, this doesn’t make the game look too dissimilar to its predecessors. When playing the standard arcade mode, the traditional white will give way to blues and pinks in an attempt to switch things up. The fundamental look and feel of Asteroids remains though.
As well as the standard game of Asteroids where you have one life to destroy as many of the floating rocks as possible, Recharged also contains 30 challenges to test your skills. These can vary from score targets or simply surviving for a set amount of time, to challenges utilising the various power-ups. Depending on the RNG however, these power-up trials will shower you with the recommended power-up or be incredibly stingy. Power-ups are obtained by shooting down UFOs, but the lack of increased spawn rates on occasions make these a lot harder on some attempts than others.
Like the Arcade version, these challenges can all be completed in co-op gameplay. Challenges do sometimes make their completion requirements a bit harder in co-op, but mainly these are a lot easier with two of you shooting.
There are some new power-ups included across both modes too. These include deflector shields to rebound UFO fire, a massive laser beam that wipes out anything it touches and more. Whilst a nice touch, these at least don’t require you to relearn the basics of Asteroids to utilise them. A purple barrier will appear around the screen showing you how long each power-up has remaining. Keep this in the corner of your eye as you see UFO fire coming towards you: will that deflector shield last?
That really is just about everything there is for Asteroids: Recharged. It is a faithful recreation of a stone cold classic but there isn’t really much else to do with the source material to adapt it into anything else; deviate too far and you risk losing the core components of Asteroids. But as is the case here, do too little to really update things and it’s tough to recommend the reboot.
Asteroids: Recharged is certainly a fun and faithful reimagining, but a little bit extra other than some generic challenges would have gone a long way.
Destroy the space debris in Asteroids: Recharged on Xbox
- Faithful and fun recreation
- Challenges add some slight variation
- Reliance on RNG to get a good run on a challenge
- Little else added to revamp the original
- Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Atari
- Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, Switch, PS4, PS5
- Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
- Release date - 14 Dec 2021
- Launch price from - £7.99