After playing through the somewhat lackluster "Circus Atari," we had high hopes that Atari would somehow bounce back with its latest mobile remake. And lo and behold, here's "Centipede: Origins," a fun new take on the '80s classic. Even though the company still hasn't found a way to incorporate the original trackball game play into the game, "Origins" still has plenty to offer -- and for a buck at that.
In the game, you play a garden gnome who has a surprising amount of access to weaponry (because crossbows and shotguns are commonplace in a garden, right?), and your goal is to eliminate bugs that are crawling down on a playfield. As you shoot them, they leave mushrooms all over. These act as obstacles that can be shot, but if you leave them standing, they can divert the creepy crawlies another way, making it slightly tougher to get a bead on them. If you remember the old '80s game, this will make sense.
Atari left well enough alone when it comes to "Origins'" game play, and that's what makes it so great. The control over your gnome is quite good, as you glide him along the bottom of the screen while firing is handled for you automatically, and power-ups can be switched on at any time. The opening levels are a great reminder of the original game, but later ones add a degree of challenge, with tunnels the centipedes can crawl through for protection, among other obstacles. Veterans who got a high score on the original "Centipede" will be thankful for the challenge provided in the much later levels. But newcomers won't mind either.
"Centipede: Origins" provides an array of power-ups you can purchase with in-game currency, but the game is a little too generous in providing the opportunity to buy them all in one shot with real cash. Atari should've scrapped this option and just made players earn them.
For a remake, "Origins" has a pleasant appearance. The backgrounds really pop to life, as if out of a fantasy tale, and the animations, which are hand-drawn compared to just being processed from the original "Centipede," are quite nice.
Best of all, this nostalgic fun won't set you back that much in price at all. It's only a buck right now, and worth every penny for all the shooting action you get. Atari is on a roll again with the release of "Centipede: Origins," and we can't wait to see what it churns out next.
Platform: Android, iOS.
Price: 99 cents.