Atari; a name that’s gone through a lot over the years but has still not lost the synomitiy with video games. Seeing this logo when booting the game up brought me right back to my childhood, hearing tales of what it was like to play in arcades. Attributing that to this game is a bit weird, but I’m all for the modernization of older games, especially in this style. Missile Command: Recharged is a stylish looking game that’s a fun callback to its predecessor.
I’ve seen this a lot with older arcade games becoming refreshed for modern consoles, and Missile Command: Recharged is no exception. The neon lights on black background look is very common, but honestly it works here. While I do love bright colors and neon lights, the way they impact the game actually helps (and hinders) identification of incoming projectiles. Since enemy projectiles are bright against the black background, you know exactly where to shoot and defend, and this stays true for the earlier parts of the game. I’ll get back to this, but for just normal, short pick up and play sessions it tends to not be an issue.
In general, the gameplay is incredibly simplistic. You’ve got a cursor (or your finger) and you shoot at the missiles coming at your bases before they’re all destroyed. The catch is, the missiles don’t destroy each other on impact, they explode wherever you targeted, and the explosion is what destroys the missiles. It’s not a far cry and sometimes more forgiving, but still simple in premise. As the game goes on longer, more and more enemy missiles fly in, and you still only have 3 missile centers to defend with that need to reload after shooting. The key is precision, if you can snipe them out very early you don’t need to worry as much about reloading. The difficulty scales up relatively fast, with missile dropships and curveball missiles that try to avoid explosions. It gets hectic after a while, but losing isn’t where the game ends. After the results screen, you’re given the points you scored in order to upgrade certain features of the game. The bullet size, speed, reload speed of the bases, and reconstruction speed of the bases. This is absolutely meant for long-term progression, since upgrading them can take a lot of points if you’re not terribly experienced with the game. Even so, it pays off to just play and get as far as you possibly can, looking to upgrade your features for future playthroughs. Once you get adjusted to the features you’ve upgraded, the game gets so much easier to progress with.
Now the controls are where my opinion tends to sour a bit. If you’re playing Missile Command: Recharged on the Switch, like I have been, you have the option of using your standard controls or the Switch’s touch screen. Let me tell you right now, it is infinitely easier to use the touch screen. Missile Command: Recharged was made with mobile in mind, and the cursor tends to be slow and clunky, especially later in the game when it can get hard to see it amidst all the explosions. Being able to touch and dictate exactly where you want your missile to go makes the game infinitely easier than having to drag the cursor all the way from one side of the screen to another, to maybe not even catch the bullet in time when you could have touched it. Once I switched to using the touch screen, it almost felt like a different game because it was so easy to manage. That, and it was also more suited to long term play, since I could just tap away rather than swinging the JoyCon stick, which is already prone to drifting.
To wrap this up, I actually enjoyed my time with Missile Command: Recharged! I tend to like arcade-y experiences in general, and this was a nice refresher after the other games I’ve played recently. Granted, the controls were a bit off early, but once I switched to touch screen I was so much better off. I even took some time trying to climb the leaderboards! Sure it can be hard to see projectiles when things are exploding left and right, but that’s part of the challenge of the game as well. Taking some time to gain permanent progression in Missile Command: Recharged felt rewarding, and seeing almost a full upgrade pop after a good round was awesome. This is definitely a game I’ll pick up when nothing is hitting the spot, because it’s just a fun way to pass some time and watch the screen pop with colors.
Score: 7 out of 10
Reviewed on Nintendo Switch