Atom RPG (Android) – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Atom Team
Publisher: ATENT GAMES Ltd.
Platform: Switch, PC, Android, iOS
Tested on: Android

Atom RPG (Android) – Review

Site Score
6.5
Good: Atmospheric soundscape
Bad: Clunky controls on mobile version
User Score
9.2
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (5 votes cast)

Roughly a year and a half since indie title Atom RPG arrived on Steam, the game gets a new lease on life as a portable title, both on mobile devices and on the Switch. Porting PC games to mobile is always an ambitious undertaking so we were eager to find out how well Atom RPG survived the transition from desktop to pocket.

Story

Upon starting the game, you are greeted with an introductory video that explains the events that shaped the world of Atom RPG. The game offers an alternate timeline to real-world events, with nuclear bombs destroying both the Soviet Union and the Western Bloc in 1986. Fast forward to 2005 and the world is an atomic wasteland, with survivors banding together, having gradually rebuilt society. The protagonist character starts out as a rookie agent of ATOM, a military organization.

After a short tutorial, which serves as a way to familiarize you with the controls, you receive the briefing for the mission you’ve been preparing for: you need to set out in search of a special squad of soldiers. This squad disappeared while they were investigating the mysterious bunker #317. Things quickly go awry after you start this mission, however, as the protagonist is waylaid by a gang of ruffians. They rob the protagonist blind, leaving him (or her) to fend for themselves in the wastelands. What started out as a rescue mission quickly becomes a fight for survival. 

Graphics

Atom RPG’s world is a drab wasteland painted in shades of brown and grey for the most part, so it’s not particularly appealing from a visual point of view. Of course, given the post-apocalyptic setting, we didn’t expect the game to pop with bright colors, but after a while, things start to look very same-y. 3D models are quite basic and textures are somewhat muddy, but we expect that the visuals were toned down for the mobile version in order to improve performance. The cutscenes look better, but these make extensive use of actual (historical) video footage so it’s unfair to compare these to the in-game graphics. 

Sound

Boasting a great atmospheric soundtrack as well as excellent voice acting in the newscast style cutscenes, Atom RPG offers an impressive soundscape. The music is suitably haunting and eerie when it needs to be and the environmental sounds are crisp. We do recommend using headphones for this game, as most phone speakers won’t have the fidelity needed to truly appreciate the detail that went into the game’s sound design. 

Gameplay

Atom RPG is a classic RPG game, presented in a top-down view and set in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. As expected, players are offered up a meaty story-based campaign that will take at least 30 hours to complete, with plenty of side quests to keep you occupied even longer. Completionists will find upwards of 60 hours worth of content here, so you’re certainly getting bang for your buck but we’re a bit baffled to see the game make the jump to mobile. Apart from the hefty download size of around 3 gigabytes, the game is clearly intended for prolonged gaming sessions rather than the quick pick-up-and-play style that you’d expect from portable titles. 

That intention becomes clear through how the game actually plays. Although the game’s core mechanics are fairly simple, you are also left to your own devices to figure out just how everything works beyond the very basic tutorial. This becomes especially apparent when taking on quests. Unlike most RPGs, you can’t just select an active quest and follow on-screen prompts that tell you what to do next. Instead, you’ll have to actively figure out how to complete your current objective. Given the length of some quests, this means that you’ll often need to retrace your steps and figure out what it was you were supposed to be doing between two gaming sessions, which can be quite annoying. 

You’ll find yourself traveling from hotspot to hotspot, spending plenty of time in the wastelands. Random encounters are plentiful on your travels. Sometimes these are beneficial, such as when you encounter a traveling merchant, but most of the time you’ll run into enemies. Combat is turn-based and takes place on a grid. You’re able to target various parts of your enemies, which spices things up compared to mindless tapping, although we found that the game didn’t always correctly register our inputs during combat. Your combat prowess depends heavily on the gear you’ve been able to loot and early encounters feel a lot more difficult than later fights, simply because you don’t have the right tools to defend yourself. 

We have to address the elephant in the room: Atom RPG shares more than a few similarities with the first Fallout game and should be considered a spiritual successor to Bethesda’s classic. Given how the Fallout series has moved on from its original incarnation, it’s nice to see that Atom Team is stepping up to bring fans of the original game a title in the same vein. This is both a blessing and a curse, as fans of the genre will absolutely adore Atom RPG simply because of how similar it is to Fallout, but it doesn’t do enough to convince players that aren’t enamored by the admittedly niche title. Atom RPG’s biggest weakness lies therein: it doesn’t even attempt to deviate from its forebear to try and do its own thing. There’s no originality to be found here, nor any desire to stand out. 

In terms of performance, we’re not quite sure whether the mobile version of Atom RPG is the definitive way to play the game. We gave the game a spin on a mid-range Android phone (a Motorola Moto G8 Power, to be exact) and while we didn’t encounter any real issues with load times or performance, we did feel the controls were quite clunky, especially when it came to zooming in or tapping on items. Performance may vary depending on your device, as there is such a wide range of phones and tablets out there. If you absolutely want to be able to play Atom RPG as a portable title, consider the Switch port instead. It has a heftier price tag, but you do get a version that is optimized to that specific device as well as physical controls. Otherwise, we recommend going for the Steam version as that seems to be the game’s best outing.

Conclusion

For fans of the original Fallout, getting Atom RPG is a no-brainer, and chances are that you already picked it up when it originally launched on PC back in 2018. For anyone else, Atom RPG offers an RPG experience that is decent but fails to inject any originality into its execution. We do recommend getting the game on PC or Switch instead of mobile, if only to avoid having to deal with the clunky controls.  

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Atom RPG (Android) - Review, 9.2 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
Sebastiaan Raats
Sebastiaan Raats


No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.