Developer: Bird Bath Games
Publisher: Raw Fury
Genre: Adventure, Action, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 28/05/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
Art of Survival
Atomicrops is about farming, planting seeds, watering crops and trying to survive from an onslaught of intruders that are trying to eat them and kill you. Don’t fret though as you’re not unarmed. In fact, you have your trusty pea-shooter on hand that will allow you to protect your crops and obliterate your enemies.
Best described as a farming and twin-stick-shooter, Atomicrops sees you surviving through each season planting crops, looking after them and harvesting them when the time is right. Bringing your crops that you’ve successfully grown back to your town will earn you additional perks and gain currency which you can then spend on new items to help you in the field when you return. This mechanic brings lots of new, unique elements to Atomicrops that you won’t find anywhere else.
Plant, water, protect and repeat is the order of the day here: when you head into town you’ll meet lots of interesting locals, some you’ll get to know very well by flirting with them and maybe if you get lucky marriage could be on the cards. This will allow you to gain special perks or items that help you, however more on that later. It’s important to note that this is no Stardew Valley: if you die in battle, it will bring you right back to the beginning. As Atomicrops is a rogue-like experience, you can expect tears and challenges ahead!
Bring In The Harvest
When you first begin your farming career, you have a few things to get you started such as a water bucket to allow you to water your crops from the well and your trusty pick-axe to tend to the soil. These will enable you to plant your seeds and start the process of growing.
Moving to the well and back will automatically water your crops as long as you’re near enough to them. Repeat this process until all crops have been watered (a small indicator will appear over each crop that still requires water.) Once a seed has fully grown, that plant or vegetable can be collected/harvested with the B button at which point you can begin collecting new seeds. You then need to rinse and repeat.
You’ll be able to expand your crop field over time slowly, and once you return to town, you can buy new seeds with the cash you’ve earned from your previous harvests, thus allowing you to purchase new equipment, seeds, bridge pieces and weapon upgrades.
There’s a timer that will slowly increase from morning to afternoon and then to night. This is when enemies will appear on the field during the night time, and this is where the twin-stick-shooter mechanic comes into full play. You can move around the field freely and shoot using the ZR trigger, aiming with the right analogue stick.
The peashooter is pretty weak to start off with, but as you progress in the game, you’ll be able to unlock more powerful weapons and upgrades. This will help you during the night cycles as enemies can rush in from all angles of the screen, and it’s your job to take them out as effectively as possible. Some enemies will fire from afar while others make their way to your crops and try to destroy them. Different enemy varieties keep things exciting and challenging.
As the game progresses, different types of enemies will be introduced, and you will eventually be confronted by a boss character that will appear, testing your shooting skills to the max. Successfully killing enemies will earn you different seeds and items that will help you in your endeavours.
Rouge-like, Art of Marriage
So, with a mix of farming and shooting, the game is truly unique. But there’s one little detail that can make things quite gruelling and challenging, and that’s the rogue-like nature of the title. See you only have so much health, and once it’s gone, that’s it: you’re dead and buried. You will have to start from the very beginning, which can be a kick in the face, especially if you managed to get quite far. The only things that carry over to other runs are unlockable characters and some unique helper items. This is the only mechanic that I am not 100% on as I feel like it halts your progress too much.
During play, you can plant roses which are unique flowers that allow you to flirt, before then eventually marrying certain characters. This can help you earn new rewards and special items like extra hearts, livestock or even a horse that allows you to run quicker on the field. This process of flirting takes time, and flowers, to be able to earn these cool rewards. Unfortunately, dying makes all this progressive vanish. There were a few times where I was very close to sealing the deal only to die on the next run, losing all my progress – something I found infuriating.
When you’re in the hub area, a small calendar can be seen on the top right-hand corner that shows you your remaining days left in a season. Once this is up and you’ve successfully defeated the boss, you appear back in the town with your complete harvest, and crops will be tallied up. New rewards will be earned depending on how well you did that season. New items will be available in the harvest festival area but note this section is only an option when the harvest is brought in. Otherwise, this section of the hub will be closed off to you until other harvests come in.
You can leave the farming area at any time and explore different parts around the map and different regions which will allow you to discover different seeds, new enemy types and unique items that you can collect. You’ll find encampments about, and if you destroy all the enemies with flags above their heads, you’ll unlock whatever item they were currently protecting.
I’ve found items like pigs, cows, chickens which help you on your farm or special items like tractors which give you a special power to summon a killer machine to destroy your enemies. Certain areas and sections require bridges to be built allowing you access: you can sometimes unlock bridges by completing a harvest or killing a boss, or you can buy bridges in the hub town with your standard currency.
My issues with Atomicrops – aside from not enjoying the rogue-like elements – are the lack of health pickups in the game: you’re limited to only 6 hearts of health when you start, but this can be depleted pretty quickly during night time battles. Health costs roses which you need to use to buy anything from the Beet Doctor in the hub town. But roses take time to find and grow, and if you’ve lost 4 health points and haven’t got any roses to hand, it’s pretty much game over.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics in the Atomicrops are nice, bright and colourful – it looks especially lovely in handheld mode. All characters have little details and animations that make them stand out, and the soundtrack is surprisingly pleasant with a lot of quirky tunes to listen to.
I like Atomicrops: I think the game has a lot of unique elements that make it quite engaging and fun to play. The mix of farming and shooting is a highlight, and the one element that works well. However, the rogue-like elements can really exasperate players, and the lack of health pickups is frustrating. I wish there weren’t any rogue-like elements in Atomicrops and the focus was solely on the shooting and farming as that is actually quite enjoyable!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Atomicrops from the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.