Earth Atlantis (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 01.06.2018

Review for Earth Atlantis on Xbox One

Shoot 'em-ups have seemingly been around for as long as videogames have existed. It is a tried and true genre that is so simple, yet satisfying, that it still manages to captivate players for generations and it will probably never go away. There is not much a designer needs to do in order to make these kinds of action games compelling or unique, yet Earth Atlantis manages to bungle this timeless formula and result in an extremely dull and lifeless experience. There are so many ways to have fun with an Xbox One and dumping it in the ocean would be more exciting than having to endure this abysmal shooter.

It is hard to realise, but it turns out art or aesthetics really do matter in bullet hell shooters. This is not limited to just making sure that incoming projectiles are readable, or that knowing what part of the player's craft is the front end... having some variation of the setting and visually stimulating imagery is crucial. Earth Atlantis opts to have a very specific art style - a kind of sketchbook art style that is meant to evoke a steampunk, Jules Verne, feel. The commitment to this direction is unwavering and it is ultimately what leads to the downfall of the entire experience because it becomes so dull and tiring to look at. Imagine if the original Metroid's entire world was done in one style and one colour. Nobody would have accepted it, even back then. Even the developer knew back then that it had to create some variation as users progressed through the adventure. It really wears down on the brain as the bland and tiring graphics make eyes glaze over into a comatose state, creating a sense of existential dread.

The execution of the graphics is not even all that good, since it seems like this was designed with some very low-end specs in mind, which is not a good idea when attempting an art style that is supposed to evoke organic sketches. Much of the pen-like etching textures are very low on detail and the sketch filter looks very cheap. The screen can get extremely busy, and with so many hazards to keep an eye out for, the incidental objects in the world only distract since the flickering shader effect feels more like white noise. This is not even a hard game - it is actually absurdly easy, so the low difficulty compounded with the visuals only makes it so much easier to drift into a fugue state.

Screenshot for Earth Atlantis on Xbox One

For the masochists that manage to power through the hideous graphics, they will get to contend with the most brain-dead shoot 'em-up on Xbox One. Between the absurdly high health cap and the feeble enemies and the generous health pick-ups, the hardest part of Earth Atlantis is staying awake. The one thing that is sort of interesting is the sloppy attempt at a Metroid-esque, non-linear progression. This would be a novel concept in a shoot 'em up, but the execution could not be done worse. There is no sense of progression since after most bosses there is not always a path to continue on. Instead, something else in the world has changed, but Earth Atlantis does not convey this information at all, so users are left to frequently backtrack to many dead ends in hopes of finding a new boss or path to explore. Enemies also constantly respawn in all directions randomly, so there is no sense of flow, just a constant barrage of fodder to kill. It feels less fun than going to work at an actual job, because at least that comes with a pay cheque.

Something went very wrong when devising Earth Atlantis. There is a kernel of an idea that could be interesting. Is this how it should have been done? Definitely not. A more appealing art style that works with the genre and some sense of direction that is not dependent on a mini-map would have helped. Easy bosses that are bullet sponges that are boring to fight certainly were not a good choice for this kind of title, either. There are so many better shoot 'em ups out there, so Earth Atlantis should just be forgotten.

Screenshot for Earth Atlantis on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

If there was ever a bullet-hell shooter that was also a cure for insomnia, Earth Atlantis would be it. Ugly, droning, and tedious to play; it is hard to find anything worse than this on the Xbox Store. While it is a functioning game, it is another example of poor design and miscalculated art direction that undoes any technical know-how the programmers implemented. It is always sad when the talent portion of a poor game is on the side where there is no artistry. After how far game development has come, having to compliment Earth Atlantis's code is the most depressing accolade to give.

Developer

Pixel Perfex

Publisher

Headup

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

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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