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Atomicrops (Nintendo Switch) Review

July 21, 2020 | Posted by Armando Rodriguez
Atomicrops
7
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Atomicrops (Nintendo Switch) Review  

Game: Atomicrops

  • Developer: Bird Bath Games

  • Publisher: Raw Fury

  • Rated T for Teen

 

I admit that I was very skeptical of the concept of Atomicrops at first.  A farming simulator with gun violence? How is that going to work? But Atomicrops hits the right balance to make for a very entertaining game.

Atomicrops is a rogue-like action game with bullet-hell elements.  The farming, although integral for your success, is not as deep as something like Stardew Valley or Story of Seasons.  The loop is usually as follows: till soil, plant crops and water them, then go out, explore, and kill bad guys. Use some of the stuff acquire from the dead bad guys to fertilize crops and build upgrades like turrets. At night, those same bad guys are coming for your crops and you must defend them, which feels closer to a bullet-hell shooter as you navigate a wave of projectiles to kill as many of them as you can to protect your fancy veggies. Then you harvest said crops to make money (cashews in this game) and use the money to buy upgrades (You take a helicopter to a hub-like area were all the shops are). Like in any good rogue-like, not every weapon or upgrade can be seen in just one run, as everything is randomized with the idea that you play the games multiple times without witnessing the same things over and over. Like in other life sims, there is also the option to marry someone. This is achieved using flowers (an alternate currency to cashews). Flowers can be used to flirt with other beings in exchange for certain upgrades and eventually you can marry one of them. When you do, they move to your plot of land and can help you fight off the bad guys , give you buffs and help around the farm. And yes, I purposely used the term “beings”: there is no nerdy librarian or blonde chick with an alcoholism problem here. Your spouse will end up being something mutated in some form. You can also befriend some animals (like pigs and chickens) who will come live with you and help you around the farm.

Each run is five seasons long, with each season consisting of three days. On the third day, there will be a boss fight that you must overcome before transitioning to the next season.  The final season, called Nuclear Winter, offers the game-ending boss fight (prepare to die often) that once beaten unlocks a higher difficulty tier for your next run. Outside of a few minor buffs, none of the upgrades you acquire are permanent, which gives each new run a fresh challenge. You need to buy new weapons every day as they disappear after use, which gives you a great incentive to farm more and expand your plots. After all, you need as much currency as you can get to prepare for the next day.  At the end of each day a helicopter picks you up and takes you to town so you can sell your crops and buy guns and upgrades. You also need to repair bridges to access other areas of the map to explore.  All in all, there is plenty do to and much like in Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, multitasking and wisely managing your time and resources is essential to succeed.

The graphics are done in pixels and are very attractive. Everything has a colorful look that resembles a Nickelodeon cartoon from the 90’s, and much like those cartoons, every character and environmental design has a certain weirdness to it. It makes the game both, cute and creepy, without descending into scary territory. There are lots of neon colors and kind of an acid washed look that is very cool. The soundtrack is well done, as the music fits the game well and is inobtrusive while the sound effects are the usual collection of enemy grunts and weapons being discharged.

Now, mixing so many elements does not always work in the game’s favor. Like I said above, the farming mechanics are not very deep and feels somewhat “tacked on”. You could replace it with something else and people would not notice.  It is counterproductive to have one of the game’s central mechanics be so boring. Eventually it becomes just another thing you must juggle. The map, although larger than it initially seems, is also not as big as one would like.  Although there is some variety in the environments you get to explore, it all boils down to hunting enemy camps and getting as much currency and upgrades as you can before heading back to base. The action, although fun, it never gets as good as in something like Enter the Gungeon. And the beginning can be a bit of a grind, especially with new players who might underestimate the importance of the farming or fail to understand the mechanics of the game. The game’s tutorial is short, simple and basic, but in the end the best way to understand the game is by playing it and getting experience. It is one of those games in which you “get good” by playing, learning enemy patterns and falling “into the loop” of what the game expects you to do.  In the end, Atomicrops does a lot of things well and it is certainly fun, but it does not do any one thing at an elite level.

7.0
The final score: review Good
The 411
Atomicrops is certainly a fun and challenging romp through a gorgeously weird world. My favorite part is without a doubt the graphics and the art style, which stays with you long after you are done with the game. Atomicrops is a good game but it is missing that one standout factor that makes it worth recommending over other games. As a roguelike, it is not at the same level as Dead Cells. As an action game, it is not at the same level as Enter the Gungeon. And as a farming game, it cannot touch Stardew Valley or My Time at Portia. Still, if you have already played any of those games or are looking for something a bit more unique in the eShop, it is worth giving Atomicrops a go. I really hope we get a sequel and one that is bigger and deeper than this one.
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Atomicrops, Armando Rodriguez