Kombinera (Feature Review) Atari VCS

Kombinera (Feature Review) Atari VCS
Review Score:

It has been years since Atari released a brand-new IP (the Recharged series not withstanding). Kombinera for the Atari VCS is a new puzzle game that sees the player through 300 levels of obstacles and traps, in an effort to combine balls together. There is no story or villains; Kombinera is purely a video game in every sense of the word. When you start the game for the first time, you are sent right into the action.

The gameplay itself is rudimentary in design – you control two balls and join them together to finish the level. The first few stages are simple and they are easy to complete. As the game progress, spikes and other traps come into play, making it more difficult to join the balls together.

The main ball the player controls is vulnerable to the game’s traps, while the second ball – which is usually the color of the traps (i.e. red for the spikes, etc.) – is invulnerable and cannot perish in these circumstances. However, this second ball moves when the player does, oftentimes making it difficult to join them together. For example: the secondary ball could be stuck between two walls or suspended above the playfield on a platform – and when the player navigates a level – they have to pay close attention to where this secondary ball moves to.

The feeling of accomplishment felt when figuring out one of the more complex levels brings a certain level of satisfaction not felt in some games today. Its Kombinera’s simplicity that makes the game challenging, fun and rewarding all at the same time. It’s a testament to Atari’s ability to make fun, simple games, and Kombinera is that game.

Graphically, Kombinera uses basic, flat 2D visuals with a bright color palette. There is no mistaking what are platforms or deadly traps. The levels never feel cluttered, even during the more elaborate stages that contain large jumps and moving platforms. 

Everything comes together as one cohesive experience. Being Atari’s first new IP in many years, it’s safe to say that Atari is back in rare form, proving to the gaming masses that they still have what it takes to compete in today’s crowded gaming market. Welcome back, Atari. It’s good to have you around. Now about Haunted House – will we ever see a remaster of the Atari 2600 classic on the VCS? Here’s hoping so.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Atari VCS
Developer: Atari
Publisher: Atari
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Price: $14.99

Atari VCS Official Website: https://www.atari.com/games/kombinera/

Review Score
Simple but colorful.
Pleasing to the ear and fits the atmosphere of the game.
The gameplay itself is rudimentary in design, but it works.
A worthy addition to the Atari VCS library.
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