Review – Akka Arrh

Jeff Minter is one of the most unique developers in the industry, namely for the fact he might actually be the forefather of indie gaming as a whole. It amazes me that he has managed to spend the past four decades pretty much making the same kinds of games, games he wanted to make, almost all of them featuring a herbivore or a spaceship. Tempest 2000, 3000 and 4000 are some of his best-known works, as well as the PSVR title Polybius, based on the urban legend. His latest title, and yet another actual brand new title from Atari in this day and age, is whatever the hell Akka Arrh ended up being.

Akka Arrh Score

Throw a bomb, create an explosive radius. Everything that touches it will also explode, extending the duration of your “bomb streak”.

Akka Arrh is weird. Upon booting it up for the first time, I had no damn clue of what I was looking at, or what I was supposed to do. It looked like a shooter, with visuals similar to those seen in Tempest 4000, but I couldn’t move my bovine-shaped ship; I could just spin around and aim my reticule. Small thingies, which I assumed I should shoot at, would fly by me and NOT damage me. What was happening? What should I do?

Well, the only functioning button at my disposal was a “fire” button, so I did just that. I pressed the fire button. I released a bomb, whose blast radius ended up destroying these “thingies” with style. The thingies would then blow up and destroy more thingies, resulting in even more blasts, with my score multiplier going through the roof. This is when I realized that this weird-as-hell game was not just a space shooter, but also a puzzle game… inspired by golf. Yes, you read that right, golf.

Akka Arrh Gun

The machine gun has limited ammo, but can destroy some specific enemies without ruining your current bomb/score chain.

I soon realized that the main goal in Akka Arrh isn’t solely to destroy all waves of enemies appearing onscreen. What the game really wants you to do is to destroy all waves with the least amount of bombs possible. Just like in golf, the level will give you a suggested par, and you’ll try to beat it. With each new level, a new kind of enemy would show up, but I’d usually get an upgrade or a new weapon to help me out. For instance, I’d be occasionally granted access to a machine gun which could destroy specific kinds of enemies WITHOUT ruining my streak. I would get the points, but the game wouldn’t consider that a usage of a bomb.

It’s not a long game, nor a very replayable one. Just like other titles released by Atari last year, Akka Arrh might be a new IP, but it 100% resembles something the company would have published back in the Atari 8-bit, Lynx, or even Jaguar days. It retains that “golden age of gaming” arcadey feel, being trippy, abstract, simplistic, but fun. The visuals and sound strongly reminded me of other Llamasoft titles, such as Tempest 2000 and 4000. Even the game’s entire interface felt like something which would have been seen in an Amiga or ZX Spectrum title from the 80s.

Akka Arrh Super Chain

I eventually got a score chain so high that the game named it The Jesus & Mary Chain. I wish I was kidding.

If this is what Atari will keep releasing from now on, I’m game. It might be a brand new title, but Akka Arrh feels like the perfect marriage between the Atari of old and the technology of today. It’s also weird as hell. It took me a while to understand what on Earth I was supposed to do in this game, but once I got the hang of it, I had a blast with this bizarre mixture between a space shooter, a puzzler… and a golf game. Sure, I don’t think it’ll be THAT replayable, but in short spurts, this one’s great. Yet another hit from Jeff Minter. Shine on, you crazy diamond of a developer.


Graphics: 6.5

Not unlike games like Tempest, it’s simplistic in nature, but trippy as hell. Sadly, also a bit too repetitive.

Gameplay: 7.0

A weird mixture between a puzzler, a space shooter and some elements of golf. Controls are responsive, but the rules are poorly explained at first. The UI is also going to be a mixed bag for some, due to its intentionally dated structure.

Sound: 7.0

Fast-paced electronic music. Not the most memorable in the world, but far from being considered bad. Fits perfectly with the game’s nonsensical presentation.

Fun Factor: 8.0

It was really confusing at first, due to some poorly explained tutorials, but once I got the hang of what Akka Arrh was all about, I had a blast with this game, even if I don’t think I’ll come back to it that often. Perfect in short spurts.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Akka Arrh is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, Switch and Atari VCS.

Reviewed on Intel i7-12700H, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060 6GB.

A copy of Akka Arrh was provided by the publisher.