Atomicrops (PC) Preview

By David Lovato 31.10.2019

Review for Atomicrops on PC

The farming sim world has long been dominated by the likes of Rune Factory, Harvest Moon, Story of Seasons, and countless other titles, so much that developers these days have to get clever to stand out from the crowd. Enter Atomicrops, which puts a dual-stick shooter spin on the genre. An early access, Epic Games Store exclusive, publisher Raw Fury and developer Bird Bath Games are off to a strong start, but they have a long road ahead of them.

The first thing that stands out about Atomicrops is its wacky, colourful graphics and light-hearted, yet at the same time dark, and even haunting music. These play nicely off of each other - for the most part. One of the most common enemies is a big pink rabbit that sticks out like a sore thumb; the design isn't bad, but doesn't really mesh with the mutated, post-apocalyptic vibe of the rest of the art direction.

The next thing that stands out is the way this blends the different genres it pulls from: players plant and care for crops during the day, which requires venturing out into the enemy-filled wilderness to find seeds, while nightfall finds them defending their fledgling farm from waves of enemies. Combat itself comes down to shooting in 360 degrees around the character, while enemies fire back - and boy, do they fire back! There are moments where the screen looks as if straight out of a bullet hell shooter. It's easy to view this as a farming sim, but the farming aspects come across as secondary; basically everything farm-related is either automatic or is mapped to a solitary "do" button.

Screenshot for Atomicrops on PC

This brings us to the third thing that stands out about this title: it does everything in its power to stop the player from having fun. That's not a sentence a game reviewer ever wants to write, and it can't be stressed enough that there is a very solid foundation to Atomicrops, but a foundation is all it is at this point. This can be frustratingly difficult on its own, which is expected of shooters, but various other aspects don't play nicely with its inherent difficulty. For example, there are no permanent upgrades. Dying results in all progress being wiped, and players have to start from scratch. This isn't your standard roguelike "just do a little better every time" type of starting over, either. No progress is saved, no upgrades are retained, there are no skill trees; a game over means a game over.

Couple this with the fact that players only get one life and four hearts, and the problems arise quickly. Hearts are nearly impossible to find in the wild (during these review sessions, a grand total of two appeared), and cost multiple roses to purchase, which are the rarest possible currency. These restrictions feel artificial; this is an early access game that likely doesn't have a horde of content in it yet, and it seems like the developers decided to just crank the difficulty through the roof in lieu of readily available content. Beyond that, success is punished almost as harshly as failure. With the game's few upgrades and items both extremely expensive and non-permanent, as well as no apparent story or even overarching theme connecting everything going on, there just doesn't seem to be any real point to it at all.

Screenshot for Atomicrops on PC

Final Thoughts

Atomicrops nails its music and art style, and the way it blends its shooter and farming elements into a single game is clever - at times downright genius - but various roadblocks have been strewn everywhere, and what was likely meant to stop players from progressing too quickly, but that just feels like this is shutting down any fun going on. It's one thing to try to build an audience and vehicle to drive a game's development forward, but Atomicrops in its current state just doesn't offer any reason for playing it. This is one to keep an eye on; Bird Bath Games is on to something with massive potential, but at the moment it just can't seem to get out of its own way.

Developer

Bird Bath Games

Publisher

Raw Fury Games

Genre

Simulation

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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