iOS gaming is a rich world where, alongside new favorites, you can also find gaming classics. Atari, the company that brought many 8-bit games to life, is taking advantage of the touchscreen medium by reintroducing their games with new graphics and touch controls. Centipede: Origins is one of these games, retouched and presented to a new audience. However, this retro classic may not be enough for today’s gamers.
Fans of the original Centipede will remember frantic shootouts against invading bugs set over a black backdrop. Centipede: Origins keeps that original top-down style but gives the game a cartoonish facelift. You control a gnome battling killer bugs to keep control of his garden and other locales. You can only shoot straight ahead and cannot move up the screen. If any bug makes it to your territory at the bottom of the screen and touches you, it’s game over.
The real difficulty lies in the mushrooms, which block the path of your arrows. Centipedes will also bounce off of these mushrooms, making their descent to you much quicker. And, beware the centipede! If you hit him, he will only split and continue attacking. You must strike down each head to ultimately defeat him.
A bunch of fun guys.
All of this may sound familiar to Centipede aficionados, but the unlockable weapons, the purchasing system, and the leveling up of your character should all seem new. Atari has decided to add these elements to the game, presumably to make it fit in with other iOS games. Weapons can be unlocked by playing through the game, but to be used, they must be purchased with in-game coins. Purchasing them doesn’t make them yours forever, though. You must purchase them each time you play.
Your character has additional “slots” for carrying these weapons. You can get upgrades to your basic weapon, and you can carry other weapons, like grenades. In total, you can have three slots for each, though most must be purchased.
The new graphics for Centipede: Origins are actually a little disappointing. Anyone playing this game will probably expect the retro, 8-bit looks, but instead will find a game that looks generic, cartoony, and similar to Internet flash games. The looks and sounds that defined Centipede and the arcade generation have been discarded. It would’ve been nice to at least have the option of playing the original game, with the original graphics.
Centipede Origins isn’t a bad game, but it has a lot to live up to. Instead of embracing the retro prestige of the Centipede title, it appears that Atari has tried to make its classic shooter blend in. Retro sights and sounds have been replaced with pay-to-win features and cheap graphics. It’s a fun shooter, but it’s too similar to everything that is already available.