Atari Edge Review: Rikki & Vikki - Atari Edge



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Sunday, July 21, 2019

Atari Edge Review: Rikki & Vikki

Publisher: PenguiNet
Developer: PenguiNet
Platform: Atari 7800 ProSystem, Windows PC
Genre: Puzzle / Action
Release Date: December 26, 2018

When the Atari 7800 ProSystem was released in 1986, following the video game crash of 1983, and original release announcement in 1984, it had improved graphics over the Atari 2600 console. Despite the better graphics, the new system used the same audio chip as it's predecessor. After the launch of the ProSystem, additional legal and market issues caused rocky times for the console, and Atari fans never got to see the true potential of the beloved system. That is until now.

In December 2018, game developer PenguiNet released a new puzzle/action style game that for many it is hard to believe it was released on the Atari 7800 ProSystem, due to the amazing graphics, music, and sound that is packed in the Atari cartridge.

Playing as the Hero Rikki, Heroin Vikki, or both per multiplayer, the story begins with Rikki and Vikki waking up to a loud shriek from their children, and finding a "dragon in a cheap suit", who calls himself the Misery Dragon, took their children captive. The Misery Dragon then gives Rikki and Vikki an exclusive invitation to his secret base at the center of the earth.

As the story unfolds, you find yourself on a solo or team mission through six levels of caves, solving puzzles, and defeating evil bosses along the way. Don't dismiss this as a simple game however, as the level of difficulty solving each boards puzzles, as well as defeating the end level bosses it enough to make the game enjoyable for all levels of gamer's.

Each of the six caverns (levels) in "Misery Land" offer similar but still unique challenges that require not only great logic, but quick reflexes to solve each puzzle while avoiding enemies. The levels consist of patterns that must be determined in order to solve each board, as well as the final boss in each cavern.

One of the game play aspects that we like, and is unique to the game is the option to trade in your score for unlimited lives. Not only does this give the game the extra boost in lives that are most likely needed to play the game through the first time, but also gives the game replay-ability, as you can attempt to play the game through again, this time for a high score. The character that visits you between caverns (levels) is Dut. He gives you some pointers along the way, but for beginners to the game, he gives the all important option to trade in your score for unlimited lives in the form of a "Dutposit". Give Dut your score each level, and he will grant you unlimited lives to help you complete the game.

With familiar game play elements, gamer's will easily get wrapped up in the quest to get your kids back from the dragon with a cheap suit. While playing the game, there were elements that reminded me of Tricky Kick on the TurboGrafx-16, Legacy Of The Wizard on NES, and Mega Man, among others. The graphics in Rikki & Vikki are beyond impressive for an Atari 7800 ProSystem game, taking advantage of every bit of power the system has to offer, as well as the game design advances developed over the years since the early days of the system. Considering that the audio chip in the ProSystem is the same as the Atari 2600, the music and sound in this game might be more impressive than the incredible graphics. The music and sound effects reminded me a lot of the TurboGrafx-16 games such as Neutopia II, etc.

Whether you take on the challenge alone or with a friend, Rikki & Vikki provides hours of retro style puzzle action that rivals any 8bit type game released on modern gaming systems. It is hard not to think about what this game would have done for the Atari 7800 ProSystem in 1986. With the upcoming release of the Atari VCS, and the most recent information released during E3 2019, gamer's should have an opportunity to play Rikki & Vikki on Atari's new system via "Sandbox Mode", which allows users to boot into Linux, Windows, etc., and should provide the ability to play Rikki & Vikki through Windows Steam accounts. It would be nice to see this recent Atari 7800 game released for the Atari VCS, and playable as a download purchase within Atari's system.

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