If you’re a fan of classic Atari games and are looking for a different way to experience them Atari Mania may be for you. It’s a nostalgic microgame collection from Atari and iLLOGIKA and this is my review of the Nintendo Switch version.
The story in Atari Mania isn’t the greatest thing or anything but it’s fun for what it is. You play as the Caretaker of the Atari Vault which is a warehouse where classic Atari games are stored. One night, you are there tidying things up when you notice that a dead pixel has appeared. This dead pixel then ends up sucking up all the Atari games into another dimension causing them to get warped and mutated with each other. It ends up falling on you to go in and fix things by completing all of these various microgame challenges.
There are well over 100 mini-games included in this with many recognizable Atari games like Pong, Breakout, Asteroids, and Centipede along with many less familiar ones. No matter which one you are playing the visuals and chiptune audio will have you feeling like you are playing these classic retro games. The nostalgia is real for those who are older like myself that grew up playing these games but the younger generation may not get the same satisfaction out of it.
The game can also be a bit too difficult at times due to the lack of explanations. You are pretty much just thrown into these games and have to learn on the fly. Some games are a combination of two classic games like Pong getting mashed up with Centipede making things even more challenging. This is another case where those who are familiar with many of these classic titles may understand what to do while those who aren’t may end up dying and having to try them quite a few times to figure them out. It doesn’t help that the load times on the Switch are a tad bit too long either.
Another cool thing about the game though is that between playing levels you can wander around the museum solving light puzzles and viewing collectibles like cover arts and game manuals of the various games you’re playing through. It’s just another bit of love the game pays to the Atari heritage that I appreciated.
Atari Mania offers a fun trip to the past for those who are a fan of Atari’s lineage. There is a lot of love sprinkled throughout in the form of collectibles, the variety of mini-games, and the look and sound of the game. What you may not like is the lack of explanation on how to play some of the mini-games and the load times. I would say Atari purists should give this the hardest look while those who are less familiar with the brand will at least want to wait on a sale.
*Atari Mania is available now on Nintendo Switch and PC. Nintendo Switch version reviewed. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.