Author Topic: Atari Mania (Switch) Review  (Read 695 times)

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Offline NWR_Neal

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Atari Mania (Switch) Review
« on: October 11, 2022, 10:49:23 AM »

Atari goes WarioWare.

Nearly 20 years ago, the WarioWare series debuted with its distinct style of seconds-long microgames, wacky humor, and loving winks and nods to Nintendo history. It’s struck me as odd that we haven’t seen quite as many WarioWare-esque games, but Atari’s take on the style in Atari Mania might have crystallized why we haven’t. It’s hard to do well, even with the best of intentions. The playful throwback aesthetic jam packed with old Atari references and a lot of mini-game riffs on the likes of Missile Command and Breakout is incredibly charming, but a slow pace of play and mini-games that are just tad too long make this just an okay game.

The setup is cute, where you’re the caretaker of the Atari vault and come to work one day and see that a dead pixel is wreaking havoc among the games. So you venture from room to room solving light environmental puzzles, collecting old box art and manuals, and playing mini-games. This aspect is one of the most novel of the whole package. I don’t even have that much Atari nostalgia (I’m a tad too young), but it was fun seeing how the whole museum vault came together as you explored. Aiding this is the charming writing and bonkers plot that gives Bentley Bear from Crystal Castles a comical heel turn.

Where things start to falter are the mini-games themselves. All of the 100+ games are mash-ups and twists on Atari games of yore, whether it’s a weird twist on Pong or a blend of Millipede with Breakout. Some of them are really great, clicking immediately. However, it seemed like every third mini-game was hard to grasp in the small amount of time you’re given. That’s not something that runs counter to the WarioWare idea, but the mini-games here last just a little bit too long. Combine that with bothersome load times, failing a mini-game set that requires you to survive 10 at a clip can take too long to get back into the action. Immediacy is hugely important for this style of gameplay, and this game slips up in that department.

Atari Mania is endearing and enjoyable despite some stumbles, especially if you hold some form of nostalgia for the old Atari brand. I had a good time with this even if I felt like I was waiting too long between batches of mini-games. The overworld puzzles ended up being one of the cooler parts of this package. I just wish the mini-games erred more on the side of WarioWare excellence as opposed to the muddy middleground.

Neal Ronaghan
Director, NWR

"Fungah! Foiled again!"