Following the success of modern-day reimaginations of Breakout, Yars’ Revenge, and half a dozen other classic IPs from its renowned collection of arcade hits, Atari has announced the next addition to its impressive Atari Recharged series: Caverns of Mars.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged is based on the vertical scrolling shooter designed and programmed by Greg Christiansen in 1981, and this new take on the 40-year-old game once again sees players drop ever deeper into the subterranean landscape of the red planet, overcoming huge numbers of enemies while carefully conserving ammo and fuel.
Landing on PC, consoles, Nintendo Switch, and Atari VCS later this year, Caverns of Mars: Recharged may well be the fastest-paced entry in developer SneakyBox’s Recharged series, combining quick reactions and careful planning across another multi-mode experience. Going on the success of its predecessors, its budget price of $10, and its trailer, it could well be another safe bet for fans of arcade gaming.
Caverns of Mars: Recharged promises features including:
- Arcade mode allows you to plumb the depths of Mars in three stages, strategically choosing your upgrades to make each run reflect your playing style;
- As with all fellow Recharged games, the true test promises to come from challenge mode’s 30 bite-sized tests that push players’ navigation and combat skills through numerous scenarios;
- Power-ups will help you switch your strategy, including railguns and shotguns;
- Fully destructible terrain lets players shoot through obstructions, though at the expense of fuel reserves, which deplete with every shot–but time bonuses are on the line for faster runs;
- Local co-op mode means players can team up in a unique way, where one partner is assigned to navigation while the other player shoots the drone;
- Global leaderboards once again allow players to compete for points or speed; and
- An original soundtrack has been created especially for Caverns of Mars: Recharged by award-winning artist and composer Megan McDuffee (Missile Command: Recharged, River City Girls, Apex Legends Mobile).
“Caverns of Mars is a great early example of a game designed for Atari’s 8-bit computers, which makes it a perfect addition to the Atari Recharged series,” said Atari CEO Wade Rosen. “It’s an intensely fun arcade-style experience in both single-player and two-player co-op.”
If you can’t wait to try it out but don’t want to wait until later in the year, Caverns of Mars: Recharged, plus two unannounced Atari titles, will be showcased at GDC 2023 in San Francisco in late March.
It’s been a busy time for Atari these last few months. After releasing Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration and effectively setting a brand-new bar for historical compilation games, it’s soon to release Arra Akkh, a brand-new take on a psychedelic new-wave shooter created by industry legend Jeff Minter.