Also On: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch, Atari VCS, PC
The original Quantum game is a more lesser known title in the sea of 80’s Arcade Classics. It was a unique game for a few reasons, one of them being it was designed by Atari’s first female developer Betty Ryan, the other being the gameplay itself was a change from more traditional games at the time. In each stage, you move your probe around with just a trackball, no fire button or any other weapon. As you move, you leave a trail behind. As the demo in the beginning explains, the idea is to move around the objects and make a circle around them to destroy them. You finish the level by clearing the screen of enemies (particles). You must avoid contact with any of the particles or your probe explodes.
As with other Recharged games in this series, Quantum: Recharged follows the same gameplay idea as the original with a few modern twists. First, there are no “levels” to complete, as the game just goes continuously until you get hit enough to lose all of your “lives”. Lives act more like energy for your ship since it feels like you are taking damage rather than losing a life. Sometimes a shield can appear that will give you an extra hit. Other major changes or upgrades include a much larger play field so it’s much more difficult to see some of the particles you need to destroy. Plus, Sneakybox added a few more enemies not found in the original that behave more aggressively. It’s more of a fast moving game than the original and the graphics upgrade to a more modern and feel really bring this game to life.
Arcade mode is where the main game is found. When you first begin playing, you will probably die a bunch of times before you get the hang of everything. Once you understand what is going on, you will begin to do better, but overall not feel very fulfilled. It’s a simple premise, but gets tedious the longer you stay with it. I’m not saying it’s not fun, it certainly is, but in my opinion this game did not need a Recharged version. Outside of the main Arcade mode, there are a handful of challenges you can try where you have to complete a set task. These can range from destroying all enemies within a fixed time limit, or surviving a huge onslaught of particles. It does add to the replay value to have these, but they are mainly for bragging rights.
Graphics are a simple presentation of what I like to call “Modern Vector Graphics”, wherein the the basic look is kept from the original but more modernized with more color and animation. Nothing that will blow you away, but everything still looks cool. The music, done by Megan McDuffee, is very cool however and really does a good job keeping you in the game. Overall, it looks good, sounds great, but in the end still remains a largely unknown classic that makes it a surprising choice for the Recharged series.
Quantum: Recharged is just an OK addition to the series and while not based on a very well known property, it’s an interesting game once you get the hang of it. This new release is not terrible by any means, but if you happen to pass this one by, you aren’t really missing much. I went back to play the original a little bit while researching since I knew almost nothing about it and I must say, I had more fun playing the Recharged version. Personally, I feel there are many other classic games out there that Atari could be “Recharging” and Quantum was not on my radar. It might be time to slow down a bit and focus on bringing out better titles for the series.
Note: Atari provided us with a Quantum: Recharged PS5/PS4 code for review purposes.