Atari has been releasing new versions of some of their most beloved games here recently with some of those including Breakout Recharged and Centipede Recharged. While everyone loves a good classic, Atari’s latest title is a brand-new IP called Kombinera from developer Graphite Lab and it’s a puzzle game that is sure to challenge you.
Kombinera features over 300 stages that will have you trying to combine two or more orbs into one. The idea is simple to understand and pick up and play but very challenging to master. The reason for that is that each orb moves as the others do so when you push the stick left to move one of them left, the other goes that way as well. Your other controls include a high and low jump button. The goal for each stage is to figure out to get these orbs together while trying to avoid hazardous obstacles like spikes. The idea of having your controls move multiple objects at the same time isn’t new as I’ve played other indie games that have done the same thing but this is fun nonetheless.
Along with having the move the different orbs at the same time there are also different colored orbs as you proceed that have different abilities. For instance, when one of the orbs is pink that means it will be able to safely travel over pink spikes in the level while an orb of a different color would be destroyed if it touched them. Yellow orbs on the other hand will destroy yellow floors and walls that they come into contact with. Gray orbs lack the ability to jump which can cause you to get stuck very easily and have to restart. When you start factoring in these different abilities you can see how these stages can get really tricky. Having to figure out how to move the orbs to get them into the position where you need them takes some real brainpower and for some people this could lead to some frustration. It would’ve been nice if there were some helpful accessibility settings for those people like a level skip or hints but sadly none of that is present. I suppose you could also refer to Youtube or something if you get stuck and really need some help.
There are some extras included in each level to encourage you to replay them if you feel like punishing yourself some more. Each level has a par time that you can try to beat it under and there is a collectible crown hidden in each too. Picking these up will unlock bonus levels but they are usually in very tough to reach places so don’t expect to come by them easily. The visuals in the game opt for a more minimalist style but the neon colors look nice and everything is presented to you on a single-screen making it easy to always see what you need to. The electronic soundtrack is fine and did its job of basically blending into the background as your brain works to solve these puzzles. Trophy hunters will find 35 trophies in the game including a Platiinum. Just like the rest of the game earning them all won’t be easy as you’ll have to achieve all par times, collect the crowns, and do some other specific things to earn them all.
Kombinera is quite different from most of Atari’s other games but if you’re a fan of tough puzzles then this will be right up your alley. With over 300 of them in total, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time trying to work out how to beat each one. Add the time trials and hidden crowns on top of that and you can get a lot of playtime out of this one. The difficulty won’t be to every player’s tastes out there but if you enjoy working your brain then this will be for you.
*Kombinera is available now on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. PlayStation 5 version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.