Game: Black Widow: Recharged
Genre: Action, Arcade
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on PS4, Xbox, Atari VCS and Steam)
Developer|Publisher: AdamVision Studios, SneakyBox | Atari
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: UK £7.99 | US $9.99 | EU € 9,99
Release Date: October 28th, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to Atari
The original Black Widow (not to be confused with the famous Marvel character) was released in arcades in 1982. It’s a twin-stick shooter that was displayed on a beautiful vector graphic monitor. It’s another classic arcade game released by Atari. But unlike more popular arcade titles Black Widow would only see the occasional console port release over the years instead of a fully-fledged sequel. Black Widow: Recharged returns to the classic formula with some modern improvement and is well worth your time if you are a fan of your twin-stick shooters and spiders.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
You play as a spider chilling out on your large web. For some reason, several insects have decided that they have had enough of your spider shenanigans and are invading your web in an attempt to take you down. But this is one spider that does not go down easy. With simple pick up and play controls you move and shoot with the analogue stick, destroying insects in a single hit. The shots you use appear to look like little smaller spiders which seemed a little over the top, but that’s probably far too much overthinking for a retro game.
Swarms of Mosquitoes and Wasps
Despite being well equipped that doesn’t mean to say the insects will make things easy. Some insects plant eggs on the web that you need to try to scurry to remove. If left they will hatch into insects that will explode killing you if you are close enough. You also have swarms of mosquitoes and wasps to deal with. You know, the usual spider foes. The web itself will also prove to be an obstacle. Lines on the structure will become solid blocking your path so you constantly have to rethink your movement.
This really isn’t a web adventure where you can just stand still and shoot. For the Recharged version you are able to pick up temporary weapon power-ups like rapid shots, shields and enemy slow down. You can also charge up a powerful web blast by defeating enemies which when fired will cause an enormous amount of spray damage. It’s a simple but highly addictive arcade formula that pays suitable homage to the original game whilst giving fun additions to keep things interesting.
The mild niggle that is already starting to show with the Recharged series is they all mimic the same graphical style and game template design. One would argue these are not bad things but if we are to see more games released in this series it feels like each will lack their own unique personality which made them stand out back in the old arcade days.
Black Widow: Recharged has the very nice looking neon vector style graphics and the colour pattern will change the further you progress through the game. You also have yet another brilliant soundtrack from the renowned Megan McDuffee which plays brilliant homage to the atmosphere and nostalgia of the 80s.
As for content, you have the main arcade mode where you have a single life to rack up the highest score possible. Then you have the challenge mode which gives you 30 missions to beat under specific game modifiers. All in-game content can be played alone or in co-op locally which is always a welcome addition, especially to a pick-up and play arcade game.
The final incentive will be trying to make your mark on the high score leaderboards online. Since there is always someone better online I’m just happy attempting to beat my own high score. For content, it might be viewed as a little bare-bones but for the price of entry here I think there is more than enough addictive arcade content to justify its purchase.
Conclusion – A Web of Entertainment
Black Widow: Recharged is another winner from the Atari Recharged series. It doesn’t matter if you got to enjoy the original or are coming into this for the very first time. This is a highly entertaining pick up and play arcade game with gameplay that still holds up years later. Brilliant, to the point gameplay that’s ideal to enjoy when you only have a few minutes here and there. Or when you just need a breather from more heavy titles. Let’s also appreciate that for a moment you get to play as the spider in the lead role of a game. But whether you see this spider as a hero or villain I guess is up to you.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot