The Edge: We Review Atari Flashback Classics On Nintendo Switch - Atari Edge



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Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Edge: We Review Atari Flashback Classics On Nintendo Switch

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Dec 13, 2018
No. of Players: up to 4 players
Category: Arcade
Publisher: Atari
Developer: Code Mystics
Genre: Classic Arcade

2018 was a great year for Atari fans on many platforms. From retro systems to 4th generation consoles including the Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, there were a few good titles released last year. Rounding out our game reviews from last year, and kicking off 2019 is a review of Atari Flashback Classics on the Nintendo Switch. We spent some time playing the lineup of classic games from Atari's past on the Switch, and to be honest, this to me is by far the best way to play classic Atari games on a newer system. Atari games and the Nintendo Switch just simply feel like a perfect match. Atari Flashback Classics was fun to play in portable mode, as well as in the dock on a television. There are even some games such as Sentinel that are more fun to play in touchscreen tablet mode.

Game Features:

150 Classic Atari 2600, 5200 and Arcade Games: Play seminal Atari titles including Asteroids®, Centipede®, Missile Command®, Pong®, Tempest®, Warlords®, and many more.

Online and Local Multiplayer: Battle for arcade supremacy against friends online or at home.

Online Leaderboards: Compare your high scores with players from around the world.

Switch Functionality: Designed from to take advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s greatest features.

Brand New User-Interface: New User-Interface designed to create the greatest classic arcade experience.

When it comes to the Flashback Classic collection of games, there are always my go to games to try on a new system. Super Football has been a solid game along the way, and has managed to keep it's play ability over the years with other games displaying incredible lifelike graphics, sound, and all around realistic game play. Super Football remains my favorite Atari sports game, and I never have an issue testing it on new systems. A game that is missing from the Nintendo Switch lineup is River Raid. This has always been one of my favorite shoot em ups from Atari.

The Nintendo Switch makes playing games a completely new experience, no matter how many times you have played the games in the past. With portable game play in handheld mode, docked play on the television, or even tablet style touchscreen game play, Atari Flashback Classics provided a rich gaming experience on the Nintendo Switch for a line up of games that most would think there was no way to change the style of any of the games in their current format.

This selection of Atari classics included a few arcade games that I had not previously played, and I found a couple that stood out as very fun to play. "The Adventures Of Major Havoc" is a vector based shoot em up and platformer mashup that I instantly found both challenging and enjoyable. "Maze Invaders" is a game that I played for the first time on the Flashback Classics - Volume 3 release for Xbox One. The Switch version has an option to rotate for "Partial View". I set this rotation, and found the game hard to play with the small Joycon. I have never been a fan of playing the Switch with the small Joycon alone. I preferred playing the game in handheld mode with both Joycons attached. 

Atari Force Liberator is a shooter in the style of Missile Command with a twist, the player controls an attack from four star ships at the corners of the screen. In your mission, the target of the attack are enemy bases on a rotation planet in the middle of the screen. The player controls a firing cross hair to aim, and fires missiles to destroy the enemy bases, as well as protect the star ships from missiles being blasted toward the star ships by enemy bases that detached from the planet, turned into satellites, and orbit around the planet. The game was based on the Atari Force comic books by DC Comics.

An article cannot be written about an Atari Flashback Classics that includes the arcade version of Tempest without mentioning the game. The original Tempest arcade cabinet was released in October of 1981, and is still enjoyable to play on the Nintendo Switch. Despite the amazing soundtrack and updated graphical tweaks of later versions of Tempest, including the latest release for Xbox One, PS4, and PC, Tempest 4000, the game play of the latest releases still has the same feel as the original arcade version.

Sentinel is a game that took advantage of the Nintendo Switch touchscreen. In the game, the player shoots power pods and energy capsules. In the original 2600 version, the game took advantage of the systems light gun. Playing the game in handheld mode, the crosshairs can be controlled by the Joycon, but I found the easier and more enjoyable way to play the game is in tablet mode with the systems touchscreen, which shows the diversity of gameplay on the Nintendo Switch, even when playing re-released classics.

Some of the features that make playing on new generation consoles unique are online play against other gamer's, online leader boards, and achievements to unlock, among others. When an achievement is unlocked, the player earns a new art piece card related to the particular game. The classic looking art pieces are bright, colorful, and very well done. Another aspect of the game play that includes well done artwork are the game overlays around the main game screens. The authentic look to the artwork brings a bit of nostalgia to classic gamer's. 

As in other Atari Flashback Classic releases, the player can control game controls, video, and audio aspects in the menu. I took advantage of this while playing Video Pinball, by setting the left joystick motion and right joystick motion to be controlled by the ZL and ZR buttons to give the game more of a pinball feel when controlling the flippers. This gave the game much more play ability. 

Note: Remember to set your controls back to the default settings if changing them for Video Pinball, or your controls will not function properly in other games.

After spending some time playing Atari Flashback Classics for the Nintendo Switch, the final thoughts are that this is the best Flashback Classics released by Atari, AtGames, and Code Mystics. With some new games included in the lineup, navigation that is much smoother than previous versions for other systems, and the gaming aspects that only the Nintendo Switch can provide, this is an all around excellent addition to the Flashback Classics library, and provides unique game play options to some of Atari's best gaming classics.

For more information and a complete game list visit

A copy of the game was Publisher Supplied for this review.