Atom RPG (Switch) — Review
Follow Genre: RPG, CRPG, turn-based combat, open-world
Developer: AtomTeam, Atom Team
Publisher: AtomTeam, Atom Team, ATENT GAMES LTD, Atent Games Limited
Platform: Switch, Android, iOS, PS4, XB1, PC, Mac
Tested on: Switch

Atom RPG (Switch) — Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Interesting story, Impeccable graphics
Bad: Lack of voiceovers, A lot of text, Mechanics can be overwhelming
User Score
9.6
(5 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (5 votes cast)

War… A bringer of hostility, despair, and destruction. When the battle is over, whether we lost or won, there’s an aftermath that all survivors have to face. In Atom RPG, we are left with a destroyed Soviet Wasteland after a horrendous nuclear Holocaust. Explore the barren lands and earn your place under the sun in this post-apocalyptic indie game, inspired by classic CRPGs such as Fallout, Wasteland, System Shock, Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate, and many others. The game is out on many platforms from consoles to mobile. This time we have a look at the Switch version of the game.

Story

In 1986, both the Soviet Union and the Western Bloc were destroyed in mutual nuclear bombings. You are one of the survivors of the nuclear Holocaust. Your mission is to explore the treacherous Soviet Wasteland, build up your strength, and investigate a shadowy conspiracy that is aimed at destroying all that is left of life on Earth.

Humanity barely survived its last war and new terrible plots aimed at destroying civilization are already afoot. The player’s objective is to find out more about these schemes, and if possible, manage to disarm the new upcoming crisis before it is too late. The game features an immersive main quest, as well as various side quests given out by NPCs, including random encounter quests, and hidden puzzles. Every NPC in the game has its own unique personality and set of dialogues. And it’s your job to find out whom to trust, whom to help, and whom to expose for what they really are.

Graphics

Atom RPG has exquisite graphics for only being an indie game. The effort that the developers put in the details and rendering is noticeable. The environment seems polished and everything looks as realistic as it could possibly be. Mixing it up by using a realistic painting art style for NPCs in dialogues and loading screens was a terrific choice as well. Also, special kudos to the impressive cinematic scene change and intro with a voiceover that sucks you right into the game. It’s quite difficult to integrate such photorealistic visual graphics into a 3D-rendered game and actually succeed to make it work out so naturally.

As said before, the game looks exceptionally great. Very detailed and well polished. But does it still look good on a small screen of a Nintendo Switch (Lite)? Well, the answer is “yes”! Of course, the visibility gets smaller so it gets more difficult to see and read. But other than that, the game looks pretty good. The game is well adapted for a handheld. The mechanics through the interface is very clear and instructions are plain to see. What is also worth mentioning are the camera settings. On the Nintendo Switch, you have the choice to turn the isometric view on and off. Having it off will grant you more control of the camera angle. Such an option is not common in other video games at all. This is well received!

Sound

After praising the effort that is put into the visual graphics, we need to talk about the lack of effort put into the game’s sound and music. The sound effects are average and are just the basics required to sound functional. To top things off, environmental music is even barely there. It’s just your usual atmospheric music to fill the void; basic, pretty weak and almost forgettable. The music stands out the most when it suddenly acts up and goes all dramatic during combat. The storyteller voiceover in cinematic cutscenes and in the intro, however, is much appreciated. Too bad this doesn’t come back in the game more often.

Gameplay

By now, it should be apparent that Atom RPG is very similar gameplay-wise to classic CRPGs such as Fallout, Wasteland, System Shock, Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate, and many others. But, if you’re not familiar with those kinds of games, here is some more information about what it means for this video game. Atom RPG is a roleplaying game played in isometric view, where you walk around to explore, discover multiple different stories, complete quests, and combat foes along the way. According to Urban Dictionary, CRPG stands for Computer Role-Playing Games. “It is a subgenre of videogames, which closely resemble MUDs and pen-and-paper roleplaying. Usually controlling a whole party instead of a single char, strategic visual and pausing”. The most well-known and recent CRPG is Disco Elysium.

It is obvious that Atom RPG is a homage to those classics and then mostly to Fallout. You could almost say that it is a blatant copy of the first Fallout except that the setting is in Russia. It’s basically a Russian Fallout, set in 2005. Why is it so obvious? Well, it’s because the game contains a lot of characteristics of the first Fallout game. You create your own character with the proper stats that you wish to have, explore an open-world wasteland, encounter NPCs and events, and fulfill quests. Even the inventory and dialogues are similar. Atom RPG even has fun little easter eggs and secrets to be found. Just like in the Fallout series. As a Fallout-veteran, it could be said that this game is welcomed with open arms. It’s fun to see a blast from the past reach us in this way, but for 2020 some errors of those old games should have been improved upon in our modern gaming landscape.

For example, there’s no direct transfer of items and equipment between you and your companion. In order to share any items, one character has to drop the items so that the other can pick them up. Switching items in-between the item slots can also be a hassle. Your journal/status/quest is not always that clear either (could be translation errors). Overall, the UI/UX is okay but could be so much better for a game that is made in this decade. Since the game is now adapted for console, many more buttons are added to the interface making the controls over the game a bit overwhelming at times.

There are mainly two actions when playing this game: having conversations and engaging in combat. The first consists of plenty of reading – since there’s no voiceover provided there. The player usually gets into a dialogue after a random encounter or speaking to an NPC directly. Since this is the most common way of storytelling in this game, you will be doing a lot of reading if you want to progress. This is also how the player gets side quests among other things. 

The latter you often have to do is combating. It’s a post-apocalypse world after all and you’ll need to stand up for yourself. Most people aren’t that friendly in the Wasteland and if not that, then it’s the mutated insects that try to protect their territory. You can fight back using any means, from your bare fists to shotguns to grenades. You can even choose which body part you want to attack. Battles happen in a grid where the number of steps taken is limited. Both actions (moving, attacking) are quite easy to figure out and work with. Both are turn-based: you choose the option you want to do (i.e. shoot, punch, reload), you finish your turn, and then you wait for your opponent’s reaction. Read and then repeat. In combat, repeat until they or you are defeated. Not much else to it.

Conclusion

If you’re a fan of classic CRPG’s or Fallout then Atom RPG is absolutely a must-play. For others, however, it could be hit or miss. The game is slow-paced and full of text, making it so you have a lot to read. It’s not an understatement when we say a lot. If you can get over that, the reading might actually be enjoyable. The turn-based combating system is also easy to play with and understand. The mechanics can be overwhelming at times because there are so many of them but they’re doable and you’ll eventually get used to it. If this sounds like a problem, the solution could be to play the game on PC with a mouse and keyboard. Overall, Atom RPG is quite fun, interesting, and addictive. A small developing team made an indie game seem big-budgeted in many ways, which is very admirable.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (5 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
Atom RPG (Switch) — Review, 9.6 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
JenRox


“Keep your friends close, but your memes even closer”.

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