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Gravitar: Recharged review for Nintendo Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Atari
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E

I only have the vaguest memories of playing the original Gravitar back on the Atari (and honestly, it could have been one of its many re-releases for all I know), but I remember one thing about it: it was hard. Now that it’s been re-released for modern systems as Gravitar: Recharged…it’s still incredibly hard.

This, of course, is by design. It’s a game about flying in space co-created by someone with experience at NASA, and even if it’s not 100% true to life, it certainly makes an effort to have as much verisimilitude as you can get in a game where you’re dodging alien rockets and lighting beacons on faraway planets.

For starters, this means that you can’t just aim your ship where you want it to go and let it fly. Rather, gravity (or lack thereof) plays a huge role – if you’re going in a direction, you’ll keep drifting in that direction unless you really make an effort to go somewhere else. Even then, in fact, you’ll make some pretty wide-arcing turns.

Adding to the difficulty, there are all kinds of things that can kill you. There are the aforementioned alien rockets, of course, but there’s also literally everything else. Space debris can take a chunk out of your health. The sun and the asteroid belt are instant death. Even the planets themselves are a menace, since you can’t land, and if you get too close it’s almost inevitable that you’ll crash and burn.

In other words, Gravitar: Recharged is a game that requires both skill and patience – and the former only comes with lots and lots of the latter. Much like Kombinera, the Atari-published game from a few months ago, Gravitar: Recharged doesn’t give you much room for error, and simply expects that you’ll keep at it until you get better.

I’m not going to lie. I was terrible at Gravitar: Recharged, and I continued to be terrible at it no matter what I did. But if you’re the sort of person who craves a genuinely punishing experience and doesn’t mind putting in the hours, you absolutely need to give Gravitar: Recharged a try.

Atari provided us with a Gravitar: Recharged Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: B-