Right before the new year rolled around, Atari hit the nostalgia jackpot with four releases for four different consoles. Atari Flashback Vol. 3 arrived on Xbox One and PlayStation 4; Atari Flashback Classics made its debut on Nintendo Switch; and that same title also came out for PlayStation Vita, albeit only in digital format.
That’s a whole lot of old-school titles to take in, particularly with Classics, which features over 150 titles from the home and arcade Atari lineup. We’re talking favorites like Yars Revenge, Red Baron, Asteroids and countless others.
But Flashback Vol. 3 isn’t too shabby, featuring rare arcade treats like Fire Truck, Football and Baseball, along with several M-Network games that haven’t seen a home release since the 80’s.
So how do these collections fare? Let’s take a look at each one and see what provides the best bang for your buck.
Like the previously released Atari Flashback games, Vol. 3 goes for $20 and offers a slew of arcade and home releases. This one probably has the most rare titles from the company, including the top-down versions of sports games like Football and Baseball. There are also several M-Network games, copied from their original Intellivision releases.
Though there are some hard-to-find gems here, like the arcade version of Canyon Bomber (which is surprisingly fun with two players) and the cool Atari 5200 ports of Millipede and others, there are also a few games that don’t really play that well. Even if you tweak the options, you may find Football to be more frustrating without its original trackball controller.
Plus the M-Network games don’t really live up to the hype, as Astroblast isn’t nearly as fun as Astrosmash was on the Intellivision. They’re curious releases, at best, but probably not something you’ll return to long-term.
Still, the emulation of these games is admirable; there’s online multiplayer for select titles that works like a charm; and the inclusion of digital manuals is a nice touch, compared to real ones that are likely to be damaged quickly.
I recommend the first two Atari Flashback titles over this one, as they have more recognizable titles than this collection does. If you already have those, however, this wouldn’t be a bad game to add to your growing retro library. Try it out first if you can.
Verdict: Somewhat worth buying, but try first if possible.
It’s funny how Atari Flashback Classics for Vita didn’t get that much fanfare before its release, because it’s probably the most valuable of the three releases. You get 150 titles and a variety of options for the low price of $19.99, which is pretty unbeatable. That said, the emulation on some of the titles is a bit questionable.
There are some games that run like a charm, such as Red Baron and Asteroids, which look terrific on Sony’s small little screen. However, others, like Tempest, are problematic, as the emulation runs veryyyy slow. And that’s weird, because the previously released TxK runs like clockwork and it has a similar visual style.
The game also has various control options to play around with, along with online multiplayer for select titles and leaderboards. That said, don’t expect much competition. I’m currently sitting in the top spot for Red Baron in the World rankings and I barely got past stage ten.
Despite its imperfect emulation in some cases and a few games you’ll probably never touch, Atari Flashback Classics is a worth addition to your Vita library, especially if you’re all about those old-school classics. Besides, there’s not many other new releases coming to the system, so you might as well enjoy this one.
Verdict: Worth it for Vita owners looking for retro favorites.
Finally, we have this collection, which is built similarly to the Vita version, but going for $39.99. Some people will see that as a rip-off, but this is actually the most definitive release of the three, and here’s why.
Classics features over 150 titles to choose from, spread across the Atari 2600, 5200, M-Network and arcade games, and they’re all emulated wonderfully, with barely a hitch. Even Tempest runs well. And that’s between both playing on a big-screen TV and through handheld play. It’s the best of both worlds.
It too has online play and leaderboards (these are much more stacked than Vita), and works smoothly with most games. That really depends on Nintendo Switch Online’s network, but the connections we made were pretty solid.
While there’s something to be said about its price (was $30 out of the question?), Atari Flashback Classics is yet another great retro collection for Switch owners. Whether you buy it physically or digitally, you’ll find that it has hours of fun inside. And you don’t even have to worry about hooking up an old Atari 2600!0comments
Verdict: Worth it for old-school fans that own a Nintendo Switch.
(Disclaimer: Atari provided materials for this overview.)