Yars: Recharged – Game Review

Yars Recharged Stadia

Back for more Nibbles

Despite its relevance in gaming history, nothing from the Atari 2600 has aged particularly well, including perhaps the company itself. With time and reinvention, the company and its works are making their way back into the traditional gaming space by seemingly returning to their roots. Atari is remaking many of their greatest hits and modernizing them for a new audience by adding power-ups, unique challenges and faithfully tweaking the gameplay formulas. If you had asked me two years ago if this was a good idea, I would have told you “no.” If you asked me today, I would emphatically tell you “yes.”

Yars Revenge is perhaps the most loved of all Atari games for its unique gameplay and cutting edge graphics (at the time). Having simply renamed it “Yar’s Recharged” is a nice play on the title, and it’s appropriate, because this really is a fresh take on the classic. Yars is now a twin-stick shooter with flashy neon and low-fi vibes.


What makes Yars stand out over other twin stick shooters is that the bullets you fire are effective, but getting in close with your bug-self lets you “nibble” your enemies and do far more damage. It’s essentially an arcade shooter’s version of a melee attack and It’s a unique way to reward the player that wants to take risks by speeding up the process at which they whittle away on the enemy’s shields. You’ll spend each level diving in quickly to bite your enemies and then retreating before they set their sights on you. It’s a bullet-hell cat and mouse.

As you nibble barriers and enemies, you collect yellow orbs that build up an energy meter. Once it fills, you will retreat to the backlines of the screen where you’ll enter a giant cannon that will fire a huge blast that deals massive damage to the enemy core. Destroying enemies, collecting their orbs and building up to the cannon shot is the core gameplay loop and aiming that cannon with the correct timing and accuracy is a nail-biting moment.

Almost everything in the game will take several seconds (or minutes) of gunfire to take out. Nibbling is a much quicker effort, allowing you to take out both barriers and enemies in a fraction of the time. It is so satisfying to bite straight into an enemy barricade and take out the turret in a few quick seconds, before they even get a chance to fire a shot off. Then you retreat quickly back to the open air where you’ll have an easier time dodging the dozens of bullets flying all over the screen. The core gameplay loop of Yar’s is pure arcade bliss, and its hard to imagine how they could have possibly modernized the gameplay better than they have

Love Those Nibbles

Its good to keep in mind however that the gameplay is pretty much all you’re getting with this package. While the game comes with a “Arcade” and “Missions” mode, that’s all you’re getting. Missions mode has thirty stages, and they are brutal. In my time with the game I only managed to complete 13 of them. You’re given a single life and many stages take upwards of five minutes to complete. That might not sound like a lot as you’re reading this, but trust me. You’re going to die before that five minutes is up. This mode is not for baby-gamers.

The Missions mode also allows for really clever use of the enemies. Although the game presents itself in a sort of static-image stage, the construction of enemy barriers in later levels is reminiscent of a base or a castle; you’ll need to figure out the best way to break through the defenses and make it to heart. It creates the sense of having a “level” when in actuality it’s just a clever construction of barriers and turrets. I appreciated the use of minimalist assets to create a new gameplay experience within the formula.

Less is Nibbles

In fact, “minimalist” is a great description of the game. There isn’t a lot of fat here, but what little you have is excellent and well-packaged. The value you get from this game will depend greatly on your desire to climb the leaderboards and your willingness to endure the punishing “Missions” mode and go for a personal high score. If neither of those things interest you, this game likely won’t last you for more than a couple hours. If that’s exactly what you’re looking for, then you just found a new best friend.

Yars: Recharged

Tyler Shippam

Yars: Recharged
Yars: Recharged
Fun Factor


Yar’s Racharged is classic arcade action done incredibly well. But, it’s still an arcade game. What you get out of this will depend greatly on your fondness for shmups and score chasers.



Leave a Reply