Centipede: Recharged (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Jenny Geist 06.02.2022

Review for Centipede: Recharged on Nintendo Switch

The original Centipede arcade game, as iconic as it is, has a fairly subdued legacy. Other famous arcade series, like Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Street Fighter, are still thriving under their respective parent companies to this day—meanwhile, Atari's insect-themed shmup rarely gets acknowledged beyond the occasional inclusion in a nostalgic compilation. Despite being one of the most beloved titles of the early 80s', no developer has attempted to expand on the gameplay in any meaningful way... at least, not until today. Adamvision and SneakyBox Studios have teamed up with Atari to bring this formula into the 21st century with Centipede: Recharged for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. Revitalizing such a well-known IP is no easy feat, but Cubed3 is ready to blast a few bugs and find out if this attempt is even worth a cent.

For those who might not have played the original arcade title, it can best be described as a trickier version of Galaga. Unlike the slowly descending armadas of its inspiration, the enemies in Centipede are chaotic insects that crawl back and forth across the board at a gradually increasing pace. Shooting at these pests will cause their segments to split into separate entities, with each kill sprouting a mushroom onto the game board; not harming the player, but certainly standing in their way. Thus, players must also consider the strategic advantages or disadvantages of each kill, as shooting an enemy in the wrong spot can lead to troubles down the line. Narrowly aiming between mushrooms to blast a cavalcade of nasty bugs is the key to surviving as long as possible and reaching those oh-so-desirable high scores.

Needless to say, this core gameplay loop is as addictive as ever. The player character dies in only one hit, which would have the potential to be obnoxious in a worser game, but in Centipede, that's part of the draw. Sure, you die in one hit, but so do all of your enemies, so you're always evenly matched and no death feels unfair. Restarting after a failure never takes too long, and even the hottest of streaks doesn't take too much time out of one's day. Like any good arcade game, this rerelease is designed around quick bursts of adrenaline-pumping gameplay.

Screenshot for Centipede: Recharged on Nintendo Switch

Moreover, Recharged adds a few interesting twists to this tried-and-true style. Power-ups now pop up in the arcade mode, mixing up the action with useful effects like explosive bullets, rapid fire shots, and enhanced spread. If that's not enough for you, a friend can hop in for some simultaneous co-op hijinks, a series first! Cubed3 was unfortunately not able to try this mode out, but it's hard to imagine it being anything but hectic fun. On the side, unique challenges provide a nice change of pace, with tasks ranging from killing enemies with only bombs to shooting enemies without shooting mushrooms. All of these features, while somewhat ancillary, are still welcome additions that sprinkle in some much-needed variety to a gameplay style that could easily get repetitive.

The most striking of these changes is definitely the revamped presentation. The field of play is now 16:9, another first for the series, and it sports a vibrant, neon look that pops wonderfully on a Switch's portable screen. Megan McDuffee, also known for her work on River City Girls, has composed an electro pop soundtrack that wonderfully accompanies this retro aesthetic with some boppin' tunes. From a purely visual perspective, the game looks fantastic, although the revamped graphics admittedly have some minor drawbacks. Namely, the sprites for the players, enemies, and obstacles are all incredibly small, and thus, they can be incredibly hard to see. The action takes place in such a wide area that the characters themselves do not stand out when viewed from even the shortest of distances. This doesn't break the game, per say, but it does add a small wrinkle of inconvenience that may turn off some.

Screenshot for Centipede: Recharged on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Overall, there isn't particularly much to say about Centipede: Recharged. For the most part, it succeeds in what it sets out to do, remastering an old Atari classic with a few neat bells and whistles attached. Items, co-op, challenges, and widescreen are all appreciated additions, but they aren't exactly thrilling, either. There's no big 'sexy' hook for this rerelease—it's Centipede, but better. Nothing more, nothing less. That isn't inherently a bad thing, though. It may not be reviving the IP on a huge scale or drawing in new audiences, but hey, Centipede is fun. A recharged version of it with a few minor upgrades is fun, too.

Developer

Adamvision Studios

Publisher

Atari

Genre

Action

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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