Akka Arrh from Atari and Llamasoft revives a long-lost prototype to give us a full-fledged neon-infused arcade experience. Check our Akka Arrh review!
Akka Arrh from Atari and Llamasoft revives a long-lost prototype to give us a full-fledged neon-infused arcade experience. It was being worked on way back in the early 1980s, but after a small market test experience, the project was shelved by Atari in favor of other arcade games. It’s now 2023, and we’re getting a revamped take on that prototype thanks to Llamasoft and Jeff Minter, who you might remember from games such as Tempest 2000, Tempest 4000, or Polybius. Are you ready to take on 50 levels of increasing difficulty with wave after wave of enemies?
Before you dive into the game, you can make some adjustments to tailor your overall experience. You can change the sound and tune volume as needed, change the language, or select between the normal dynamic color effects – with everything flashing like arcade games did back in the day – or decide to go for a more subdued, non-flashy look. You can also decide if controls will be of the single-button variety or if you’d like to use the X button for bombs and the Circle button for bullets.
Speaking of which, you’ll control your ship at the center of the screen with the left analog stick to move the aiming reticle. Your task is to destroy all enemies, which is why you’ll unleash your bombs to have enemies explode while creating a ripple effect that will take care of other enemies within the area. The first enemy you destroy with a shot will grant you a single point, but each subsequent one that is destroyed from the chain explosions will boost that by one point. Add the score multiplier – which you can see at the upper left corner of the screen – and you can quickly realize how crazy things can get.
The pods represent your lives, which is why you need to defend them from enemies. Enemies will always try to reach your pods, which is bad news for your run! On top of marking how many lives you have, these pods are also important because they will grant you some bonus points at the end of a wave. The more pods under your control, the higher that boost will be. You can recover some pods after beating a level and can hold up to 16 pods at a time. As a heads-up, if you make it past level 10 and don’t have 16 pods on you, you might as well start back at the first level.
For each enemy that you manage to destroy, the counter on top of your aiming reticle will increase. This represents your total bullets, which are an alternate way of attacking enemies. Bullets are limited by the ammo you’re carrying, but they’re a great way of destroying enemies that managed to get too close for comfort. They can also be used to destroy enemies that are not affected by bombs, all while also helping to keep your chain going and boosting your overall score multiplier. Bullets will also give you a score boost after beating a level.
Some enemies will try to avoid your attacks and will move downstairs to try and attack your pods. When this happens, you’ll have to press the R2 button to also move downstairs so that you can take care of them. The pattern in which bombs – and enemies – explode will change as you progress further in the game, so you won’t always be able to prepare chain reactions the same way. On top of that, some levels will have different sections for their floor, and each section will have its own chain reaction to activate and keep going. Because of this, you’ll have to learn the spawn patterns of enemies, as well as pay attention to what types of special enemies will need to be destroyed with bullets. Oh, and some of those enemies will attack your turret, so be ready to counter as needed!
The game has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy. Said list is split into 3 Bronze trophies, 9 Silver trophies, and 8 Gold trophies. As for the objectives you have to complete, they include playing through the tutorial levels, surviving an octave, getting a hole-in-one, completing the game, doing so while playing in HARD Mode, playing from level 0 until the end, raising the score multiplier to 2.0 or more, starting a level with at least 100 bullets, getting 100 million points or more, or getting to level 24, to name some examples.
Akka Arrh is a blast from the past that brings a long-lost Atari prototype into a new era. With an easy-to-understand but hard-to-master gameplay loop, the game features an addictive experience that will keep you coming back for more as you try to earn as high a score as possible while trying to make it to the end. Akka Arrh is out tomorrow on PlayStation with a $19.99 asking price.
Disclaimer This Akka Arrh review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by Atari.