Yars' Revenge

Yars’ Revenge did deserve more than this short, chaotic mess.

By Daavpuke, Posted 09 May 2011

It’s hard to compare a game like Yars’ Revenge towards its original release, since 30 years ago the Atari 2600 version was nothing more than a few colored lines. In an insect universe, the character Yar gets controlled by the evil Qotile, before she realizes they have enslaved her people, to which he must seek vengeance, as the title would suggest. This sets the premise for an on-rails space shooter that will blast through a 6 level campaign or an additional challenge mode with different variables.

NoobFeed Review - Yars' Revenge
Yars' Revenge is a pew pew pew game that can seriousy bug you. It's all about puns.

Now, 6 levels won’t offer a meaty experience; in fact, the game is quite short if played in one swoop, but at least it’s an ocular delight. Barring the appropriate but lackluster soundtrack, the visual experience of Yars’ Revenge is its strongest feature; which is pleasantly surprising given the circumstances. No one would expect an ancient game to be redone with such splendor, so graphically; this game certainly earns some points.  Heavily cel-shaded characters and bugs fly around the different environments, from greenery landscapes to huge Technodromes, with vibrant color pallets splattered all over.

But this excess also has a downside; one that will return in many aspects of the game. During one of many hectic moments, a load can happen on screen and with all those pretty colors whizzing around, it’s hard to get a bearing of it all. Enemy fire easily gets lost amidst the chaos and furthering this issue, the perspective of incoming blasts is never quite clear, resulting in many frustrating hits. Making matters worse, the odd camera turns from the rails can sometimes be completely disorienting, which is unforgivable at times. There’s no logical reason someone would purposely cripple themselves, so why the game insists on doing so is a mystery. This will be generally applicable to the controls as well.

NoobFeed Review - Yars' Revenge
Cel-shading: Yars' Revenge is doing it right. Take to the skies!

Watch Daav rant about Yars' Revenge.

While maneuvering in this on-rails shooter isn’t impossible or broken, Yars’ Revenge does again try too much and therefore there are several flaws within the core mechanic of this game. Using a separate scheme for movement and aiming, the main reticle suffers from jerky movement that makes aiming hard. This is while movement is a tad too slow and offering an evasive maneuver button doesn’t hold much of a difference. But the real problem is that Yars’ Revenge expects too much to happen at once and thus combining both while operating different weapons and scoping out the area is too much to focus on. This hectic scramble of many options at once can make for some severely hand-injuring moments, so beware! Add to this that there are also conversations during gameplay and the result will be that at any given time there is always a part of the game that is lost in the experience.

Luckily, combat in itself isn’t that bad; even if it is rather mundane. Besides a standard weapon and chargeable laser rifle, Yars’ Revenge also offers pick-ups that vary from a healing shield, power boost, enemy seeker and a device that stops enemy fire. There are also an intensely powerful cannon, which charges and destroys everything on-screen, and some homing missiles. The latter however is also aimed with the reticle by holding a shoulder button and can get quite tricky to implement with the rest.

NoobFeed Review - Yars' Revenge
This is Yars' Revenge end boss. It's like Zone of the Enders, but even crappier.

Watch Daav play some more Yar's Revenge and rant more as well.

But perhaps the biggest problem in Yars’ Revenge’s short ride is that the on-rails experience lacks a real purpose. More than a compelling and well-designed level plan, this game feels more like a random amount of enemies flooding the screen, with a boss fight slapped around the end. Enemies look the same in each stage and repetition becomes routine even before the few hours of game are over. And while it isn’t a horrible experience, it isn’t all that entertaining either to just randomly play the most colorful and hectic game of whack-a-mole ever created.

In all, Yars’ Revenge is outdone by its own overzealous approach to many things. The focus on a ton of shiny action and options that are all there at the same time took precedence over forging a well-structured game. This odd choice of priorities make for a candy that looks delicious in its wrapper, but tastes bland and stale once anticipation makes way for savoring. And while people can’t expect too much from a budget reimagining, Yars’ Revenge did deserve more than this short, chaotic mess.


Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Yars' Revenge


Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Atari
Developer(s): Killspace Entertainment
Genres: Shoot-'Em-Up
Themes: Rails, Shooter
Release Date: 2011-04-13

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