Growing up I loved going to arcades. There was something magical about the sounds and lights inside those places. Even now I love going to Dave and Buster’s to play Space Invaders. Atari Mania brings some of those exciting arcade moments to your Nintendo Switch and PC but it also brings a lot of frustrating ones. Unfortunately, I ended up not enjoying my time with this game and I am here to tell you why.
Humor Filled Puzzles
In Atari Mania, you play as a caretaker that’s trying to protect Atari pixels and characters from dying. The story in itself it’s pretty funny and it’s actually what kept me most entertained in the time that I spent playing this game for review.
Getting to see these pixels as well as other Atari properties was truly the highlight of Atari Mania. I also loved finding old-school gaming posters for these games as you progress through the story. These posters offer a look back at the history of the Atari properties. It was cool getting to know more about a company that I know very little about. Within the campaign, there are different tools to solve puzzles. This is truly where Atari Mania shines.
Unfortunately, the mini-games inside this collection is where Atari Mania is at its worst. As you progress through the story and you begin to encounter “bad” pixels you will have to overcome a series of mini-game challenges to defeat these pixels. These challenges are downright annoying.
While the mini-games themselves are fun, I mean it’s Atari old-school games so what was I expecting. The way the games are presented here is terrible. In some of these games, you will spend 15 seconds trying to survive whatever challenge they throw at you. 15 seconds! That’s not enough time to enjoy that mini-game you are playing. Now not all of them are that short but none of them are long enough to enjoy. I get what they were trying to do here, in a WarioWare way. Consequently, the fast pace of introducing new games does not work in Atari Mania’s favor.
Not only are the mini-games too short but some of them are unfairly tough. If you fail that particular level you will lose a life and if you lose all your lives you have to start all over from the beginning section of that particular boss. I had to turn off my Nintendo switch multiple times out of frustration. Just when I would get to the last section of the boss I would make a bad move that would kill me and send me to the beginning.
Quick Hits of Classic Atari
I get old-school arcade games are supposed to be challenging but the way Atari Mani handles challenges just felt cheap and frustrating. The silver lining to these short mini-games is that you actually get to see a lot of classic Atari games and that’s always a plus. By the way, Pong totally holds up in 2022.
If you are looking for a game that’s going to bring back all the classic Atari games onto your handheld or your PC, I would say keep looking because Atari Mania is not it. Atari Mania feels more like a museum than an actual arcade. But if you want a cute campaign that will teach you more about Atari properties then this game is for you. However, beware that frustration may kick in once you start to play the actual Atari games.