Quantum: Recharged Review

2023-12-13 by George P

  • Reviewed on

  • Platforms

    Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, PC (Microsoft Windows), Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X|S

  • Developer

  • Publisher

Quantum Circles

Quantum: Recharged is a remastered and reimagined version of its relatively obscure 1982 arcade machine predecessor made by Atari. As I myself have not played the original title, I will assume that most readers will not be familiar with it either. Therefore, I believe it is important to provide a comprehensive overview of the game’s core gameplay loop and highlight its most interesting features. When I first began my playthrough, Quantum: Recharged immediately reminded me of Tron’s Light Cycle mode. But unlike Tron, where your trail acts as a wall that you must force your opponent to hit, in Quantum: Recharged you have to encircle your trail and create a vortex that will eliminate all unlucky enemies caught within it. Think of yourself as a line that draws circular shapes. Each time you complete a shape, it becomes a temporary vortex that removes enemies from play. This is the game’s fundamental concept.

While it may initially appear incredibly simplistic and maybe even gimmick there are many things that this core mechanic can be praised for. It is a very unique concept compared to many of its era’s counterparts. It generates hectic, fast-paced, and engaging gameplay. It also surprisingly allows for a great level of micro-choice complexity and gameplay depth. Of course, it is not just this singular mechanic that makes Quantum: Recharged fun. There is an entire formula that has been designed around this simple concept. So let us take a closer look at some of this formula’s ingredients and investigate the elements that make it work. First of all, the game sports minimal control mechanics. Apart from your regular movement, you have two buttons to utilize. One allows you to significantly increase the speed of your cursor-like vehicle. This can be very useful when performing escape maneuvers but it can also be very risky as increasing your speed can make it harder to keep track of your own vehicle (I learned this the hard way). Your second movement option is the agile dash. A quick burst that propels you forward, allowing you to escape unharmed if cornered and eliminate enemies with pinpoint accuracy. The fact that the dash can be utilized both offensively and defensively means that you will often be using it immediately as it goes out of cooldown. It is an incredibly strong all-purpose mechanic that makes the game as a whole feel more intense and fast-paced while also helping to raise the skill ceiling. Speaking of the skill ceiling, this is a really interesting aspect that I believe is worth further exploring.

Arcade Sorcery

Anyone who has gotten the chance to play arcade machine games knows that there is something magic about them. It is hard to pinpoint what it is exactly. Maybe it is just the old- school charm that nostalgia is able to fuel. Or maybe it is something less ambiguous and much more definitive. After some retrospection relating to my own experiences, I think I can identify one major element that contributes to this “arcade magic”. Arcade games are, in an almost paradoxical manner, simultaneously both relaxingly chill and considerably difficult. Arcade machine games perfectly embody the “low skill floor, high skill ceiling” that many modern games have tried to adopt. Games in an arcade had to be accessible enough to appeal to casual new players but also challenging enough to keep said players spending tokens.

The objective of an arcade machine is to hook you, reel you in, and then following a defeat make you say “I want to go again”. Quantum: Recharged absolutely succeeds in that regard. It is a highly addicting game with many positive elements that enhance the experience. It is fair, highly polished, and features a brilliant visual presentation. There is also a wide range of enemy types. From more predictable ones that move in a certain pattern, to ones that relentlessly chase you in a number of ways, to even ones that shoot at you! And of course, it has what any self-respecting arcade game needs. The one ingredient that makes each round different and unpredictable: POWERUPS! Quantum: Recharged has a wide range of powerups that can help the player gain the edge in tough situations. Extra lives. Unlimited dashing. A plasma shield that makes you invincible for a short duration. An electric shock that immobilizes all enemies (but be careful! Enemies spawning after the shock will not be affected). A slowdown pickable that makes hostile units move at a snail’s pace. And more.

The Recharged Era

Quantum: Recharged is part of Atari’s larger effort to remake and reboot many of its classic franchises. The recent “Recharged” collection includes other iconic titles such as Missile Command, Berzerk, Asteroids, Breakout, and more. This ambitious endeavour to revive these old IPs is able to achieve two things. First of all, it allows gaming veterans to re-experience nostalgic memories in a modernized form. But it also gives the opportunity to new players to discover titles that they otherwise would have never known about. As part of the latter category in this case, I feel very fortunate to have come across this project. I believe there is something truly fascinating about examining some of video game history’s earliest conceptions and the frameworks that designers constructed to make them work.

This is a game with a very unique central mechanic which is accompanied by numerous smart choices and features that certainly pique one’s curiosity. Most importantly, Quantum: Recharged is a game that I really enjoyed, and one that I could easily see myself revisiting in the future. Through its cleverly designed gameplay loop, great visual presentation, and high skill ceiling, Quantum: Recharged is a game that I believe can provide many hours of fast-paced fun. It is a game that can be engaging in challenging long sessions where players slowly yet steadily improve their score but it can also be restfully enjoyed on an occasional basis after a long and tiring day. This is the two-sided arcade magic we spoke of! However, there is a caveat. While playing Quantum: Recharged it is very easy to diagnose a sense of lost opportunity. There are many ideas that could have been implemented and many different path that the developers could have followed to expand the game to something much bigger than just a score-chaser. As a result, the overall experience can unfortunately start to feel stale and repetitive much earlier than it could have otherwise been.


Quantum: Recharged is a remastered and reimagined version of a 1982 Atari- built arcade machine. The game features a unique, intense, fast-paced, challenging, and cleverly designed core gameplay loop. Through excellent polish and a well-thought-out visual presentation, Quantum: Recharged offers a modernized experience while maintaining the arcade charm that many players seek. Unfortunately, while enjoyable and well-crafted, the game fails to reach its true potential and players may find it stale and repetitive relatively early on.