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[PS5] Caverns of Mars: Recharged Review

[PS5] Caverns of Mars: Recharged Review
  • On March 15, 2023

Retro reimagined game Caverns of Mars: Recharged from Atari, AdamVision, and Sneakybox is ready for you on PlayStation 5. Learn more in our Caverns of Mars: Recharged review!


Retro reimagined game Caverns of Mars: Recharged from Atari, AdamVision, and Sneakybox is ready for you on PlayStation 5. Caverns of Mars was originally released for Atari’s home computers way back in 1981, followed by a disk release in 1982 and a cartridge version in late 1982. It’s a vertical scrolling shooter in which you descend into the titular caverns to try and survive for as long as possible, destroying any hazards or enemies on your path. Crashing into an enemy is bad. Running out of fuel is bad. Crashing into a cavern wall is very, very bad.

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I’ve previously gotten a chance to review other games in the Recharged series, such as fast-paced Yars: Recharged, sci-fi arcade experience Gravitar: Recharged, neon-infused brick-breaker Breakout: Recharged, and classic-style Asteroid: Recharged. I’ve enjoyed my time with all of them, so I was definitely up for checking out Caverns of Mars: Recharged, especially since I didn’t get to play this one back in the day. The original version is one of the Atari 800 games included in the excellent Atari 50: The Anniversary Celebration.


Something that’s interesting about Caverns of Mars: Recharged is that all of the environments are fully destructible, so you can use your ammo to shoot at the obstacles on your path so that you can stay alive a bit longer. Do keep in mind that every shot you take will deplete your fuel, so you’ll have to balance your resources as needed. After completing a level, you’ll get to choose from different upgrades that will change how you take on subsequent stages. You could, for example, increase your ship’s fuel capacity while reducing the rate of fire, make it possible to attract fuel cells while decreasing total fuel capacity, or increase HP capacity while reducing fuel capacity. You need to pay attention to what you choose, or else you might cut your run short!

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As has been the case for other games in the Recharged series, along with the main Arcade Mode to play through, there’s also a Challenge Mode for you. As the name suggests, Challenge Mode will present you with specific objectives to complete. These objectives can be completed either on your own or in multiplayer. Playing levels in one or the other will require you to collect fuel canisters as you go so that you can make it to the exit without your ship running out of it.


Given the game’s arcade nature, the controls are going to be simple and to the point. You’ll move your ship with the left analog stick as you shoot with the X or R2 buttons. Shooting your weapon will also stop your ship’s descent for an instant, allowing you to take a small breather as you realign your ship. You can also collect some weapons along the way that will considerably increase your firepower. These include a mighty laser that will unleash a large column of energy, a spread shotgun shot that packs a punch, or a twin gun that will fire a barrage of bullets.

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Caverns of Mars has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy waiting for you. The list includes 2 Bronze trophies, 4 Silver trophies, and 9 Gold trophies. Some of the objectives you’ll have to complete include completing the cavern and volcano sections in the game, using all weapons at once, destroying 200 chargers, destroying 200 shooters, destroying 150 drones, destroying 300 mines, destroying 240 twin lasers, completing a level without collecting any weapon, destroying 1,000 terrain pieces, and completing all missions in Challenge Mode.


Caverns of Mars: Recharged gives us a new take on a classic arcade-style experience from Atari’s history. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this one. Its simple gameplay loop kept me coming back for more as I tried to go deeper and deeper during each of my runs, all while taking on some of the 30 missions that the Challenge Mode had to offer. And with so many releases in the Atari Recharged series, along with the first set of tracks from prolific artist Megan McDuffee, we’re also now able to download a second volume of awesome songs! Caverns of Mars: Recharged is out on PlayStation 5 with a $9.99 asking price. There’s also a PlayStation 4 version available for the same price as a separate purchase.

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This Caverns of Mars: Recharged review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Atari.

Review Overview

Take on the challenge of the Caverns of Mars!