Developer: Atari

Price: $0.99
Version: 2.6
App Reviewed on: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Get ready for some intense retro action as you defend yourself from dive bombing fleas, erratic spiders, the ominous multiplying centipede, and a whole host of other insectoids (it’s a word, trust me). I had a blast playing this because of its great control scheme, replayability, and vibrant graphics. Other developers working on retro remakes should take note from Atari.

Centipede shines in the controls department because of its excellent user interface. There is a bright thumbprint at the bottom of the screen that allows you to control your ship (is it a ship?) via relative movement of whichever thumb you prefer. Two fire buttons rest at the top of the screen allowing for you to choose which works best for you. If there is one inconvenience, the pause button can be a little hard to hit during intense action sequences if you’re playing on the iPad upscaled, but iPhone players should be fine. Overall, it is a simple, but effective input method with no gimmicks.

The game feels like a classic, but it includes some very nice upgrades that increase the variety of gameplay and ultimately add to the Centipede experience. There are a set of really spiffy power-ups that increase your fire power such as lasers, triple shot, and the odd but still useful reflective side shot (try it on spiders). The triple shot is the most beneficial overall, but the laser can be fun as it lays waste to rows of mushrooms and unsuspecting centipedes. Some purists will slap their canes on the ground and moan about how they didn’t have power-ups and they had to pay a quarter every time they wanted to play back in their gaming days, but don’t let them turn you away from this revised experience. Another great addition to the game is the use environmental effects such as a flashing siren followed by a wave of a certain enemy bombarding you. This aspect really intensifies the action, and makes for a frantic good time when trying to increase your score.

Graphics in the game are bright, colorful, and decidedly retro, but they look light years better than the original game due to all the on screen effects. The music got old really quick, but the sound effects were delightful. The sheer amount of things going on can be overwhelming if you aren’t an arcade fan, but after a little practice you probably won’t let the scenery distract you. The game options offer three levels of difficulty, so if you are a novice you can practice a bit before jumping into hard mode. Speaking of the options, I would have to admit they are a little bare-bones. You can change the difficulty, audio volume levels, view the credits, and check out local high scores. This works out to be an advantage because the game really presents itself as a no fuss pick up and play affair, but I really would’ve liked to see some online functionality (better score tracking perhaps).

Being a fan of the classic Centipede, I can honestly say I enjoy this game more than the original. While it seems a bit easier than the older arcade (even on harder difficulty), it still scales well as you progress through the levels. The game is great for quick rounds during any kind of downtime, and besting your own high score is still rewarding as ever. The game controls as it should, which isn’t always the case when it comes to retro games on iOS, and as a bonus it allows for ambidextrous play (a.k.a. left hand friendly).

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