Not too long after Atari50 we find Atari dipping into their catalogue for another release. This time though instead of bringing us another Recharged classic, the long lost Akka Arrh has been handed over to the folk at Llamasoft for a modern twist. A worthy blast from the past? Lets find out.
Akka Arrh is somewhat famous with Atari fans for being one of several coin-op arcade games that was lost to time and never saw the light of day. Interestingly the original game was actually completed, just never released to the arcades, and became one of the highlights for the recent Atari 50 celebration release. To go with that, Atari also decided to see what psychedelic modern twist Jeff Minter & Co could come up with, and now we have this reimagining.
With 50 levels of arcade goodness to get through, it could be several hours at least until you get to the end so luckily no coins are needed. The first several stages are relatively chill to be honest, acting as something like a tutorial as tips flash across the screen to ease you in. It’s not long after that though things start to ramp up, and getting to the half way point can feel overwhelming at times. Still, as with the devs other games, you can carry on from your furthest point or just pick ‘Pure’ to start all over again when the lives run out.
The visual feast on display is as awesome as any Llamasoft game before. That typical vector styling with a full on rainbow pallet never gets old and seems up a notch as effects from the likes of defeated enemies fill the screen with wanton abandon. The audio side of things is quite typical of the developer too, though the style of music can have some surprising twists, and the sound effects are likely to be something of a comfort to long time Llamasoft fans – the beeps & boops also adding to the Atari vibe.
There’s no need to worry about performance either as the game is relatively light on what it needs. A system like mine (R7 5800X/32GB/RTX 3090) is ridiculously overkill for this, ended up using DLDSR to downsample from a much higher res than 4K for the cleanest vector lines you’ll see, game still didn’t skip a beat from the 120Hz target. Only downside I guess is the lack of a VR option, but that’s more a subjective thing.
Reimagining is the apt description. If you’ve played the prototype on Atari 50 then you’ll notice some aspects have carried over, but this actually feels more like a Llamasoft release. Basically you have a base that has numerous pods within that need to be protected, you can zoom down at any time if it gets infiltrated and shoot enemies before they escape with a pod. When up top you also have to be mindful of enemy attacks to yourself due to limited lives, preventing infiltration here is also key, luckily there’s numerous power ups that can be had to tip the scales in your favour for a fleeting moment. It’s pure classic arcade goodness really, relatively simple to get into but difficult to master.
The key to nailing the highest leaderboard scores is securing a max chain for the highest awarded points per enemy dispatched. Launching a bomb in a key area will see the basic enemies caught in the blast explode and then their blast can hit the next wave – firing another bomb will reset the counter so best used sparingly (there’s also an end-of-round bonus for bomb efficiency). You also get bullets replenished this way, but these are best kept for more advanced foes that target you, also there’s a point bonus for ammo left over at the end of stage. To be honest hitting max chain ain’t too difficult, keeping it is the problem. When the game starts to get going you have to be on point and deal with the right enemies first, any mistakes will cost the chain.
Akka Arrh is the latest bit of classic gameplay from the folks at Llamasoft, reimagining a long lost Atari game as a trippy arcade shooter without the need for coins and a cabinet. There’s a hefty amount of stages to get through, classic arcade gameplay, and those ever awesome visuals that never get old, which means the meagre £16 entry fee should give the game plenty of appeal to those beyond the usual Llamasoft & Atari fans.
Hits all the right notes as a psychedelic reimagining of an Atari arcade prototype