I swear. It is almost like I close my eyes and another roguelike game pops out to test our patience and how far we can make it down the corridor. Well, Atomicrops is a new game in the genre, and… it definitely does something quite different. When it comes to most roguelikes, you find yourself rinsing and repeating the same strategies until you can get a hang of it, and then you really start to get into the meat of the game. With Atomicrops, every round feels so incredibly different because there are so many elements that change how you can play the game. But does that necessarily make this a better roguelike than others? Or is this just another dead seed that needs to go in the trash? Well, let’s find out!
Like most roguelikes out there, Atomicrops does not do much in regard to storytelling. It simply presents you with a lovely little tagline:
Farm. Marry. Kill.
Well, it is not quite in that order, but that is the gist of the game for the most part. You play as a farmer working on a very hostile field trying to make the most of your little plot of land. Seeds are scarce, and you need to dive deep into enemy territory to get some different seeds to plant and harvest. You do all of this while trying to protect your crops from being overrun and eaten by mutants that seem hellbent on destroying your farm.
Thankfully, when the morning hits, you are able to revisit the town via helicopter, and that is where you get to do some fun stuff like shopping and flirting!
Yeah. In Atomicrops, you have the ability to flirt, date, and even marry a lovely suitor who will assist you in your attempts to grow vegetables and flowers in the toxic wasteland that you call your farm.
Each passing season will be celebrated by the mayor, and you will see how much you contributed thanks to your harvest. It may not be the deepest storytelling, but it does do the trick and sets the stage for what is truly the star of the show.
And that star is the gameplay. Atomicrops is just so much fun to play. It is about as chaotic as they come, but the added elements of farming and courting bring something to the table that I never knew I wanted in a roguelike game.
Things start off relatively quiet and simple. You are introduced to your little farm, and you are instructed how to till, plant, water, and harvest. We have a proper farming simulator… of sorts. Well, you are then immediately tasked with defending your newly planted crops, and this is when Atomicrops gets chaotic. The main gameplay is to maintain steady farming while also shooting at baddies so they do not eat or destroy your crops or farmland. Believe me, it is as complicated as it sounds.
Learning how to do both farming and shooting at the same time can be a bit taxing, especially when you learn there is actually a lot more to do in order for your farm to succeed. There are different areas around your farm that are connected by a bridge that you must invade in order to find more seeds to plant and items to assist you (Other areas require you to build a bridge which can be obtained in gameplay or bought in the village). Unfortunately, these areas are swarming with mutants, and it is in these areas that the game most feels like a twin-stick shooter. The enemies, for the most part, are not that difficult, so as long as you keep your distance and bob-and-weave like a professional boxer, you should be able to collect everything you need to improve your farm and harvest more goods.
The reason you want to harvest is because you will periodically return to the village to spend the money you receive (Money = Cashews) on upgrades, new weapons, and other items like turrets and sprinkler systems to help defend and work on your farm while you are exploring the other areas for seeds. Unfortunately, any weapon you purchase only lasts one round (Or two depending on the character you choose).
The other thing you can do in the village is flirt with some available suitors, and the only way you can flirt with them is by spending roses, which are seeds that can only be acquired in those neighboring areas filled with mutant pests.
In order to marry one of these suitors, you must collect a decent amount of roses throughout various rounds. It takes roughly 17 roses to marry, but each time you give the suitor a bundle of rose, you also receive certain buffs. These buffs can be anything from extra health to faster harvesting to stronger turrets, just to name a few. Like with anything in Atomicrops and other roguelike games, each of these outlets are your choice, and your gameplay will depend heavily on how you distribute your finances and roses. Roses do not have to be spent on suitors, though. They can also get you health, and they can buy some pretty powerful items as well, including animals to assist you on the farm.
And let me say, the animals are my favorite part of the game.
You are able to receive animals through various means, like stealing them from the mutant areas or purchasing them back at the village. Chickens, cows, pigs, and bees all serve a great purpose in helping you farm, collect more money, and protect your crops. They are, in my opinion, essential items, because they help you to take the focus off of the farm and allow you to apply more on fighting and defending.
And fighting and defending is very important, because after a couple rounds, a season will end and you will be met by a massive boss that will do anything in its power to destroy your humble farm. The boss fights are varied and tons of fun! The first time I fought the sun boss, particularly, I was smiling the whole time as I tried my best to dodge the bullet hell that came my way while also keeping the sun away from drying out my crops.
After surviving a season, you will head back to the village once again, but this time you will meet with the mayor who will judge your performance. The more you harvested, the more rewards and items you will receive, and you definitely want more stuff to use, because each following season gets harder and harder and you will need all of the help you can get.
The soundtrack is a great combination of southern bluegrass and a rock sound that can only be described as extraterrestrial. The two different blends do a great job of reminding you where you are and whether or not you need to panic. Transitions between each song is also fluid and feels incredible, especially considering how different the music can be.
The sounds of Atomicrops are pretty basic, but they definitely serve their purpose well. I would have loved more personality out of the varying animals, mutants, bosses, and suitors. A lot of the time, they are all oddly quiet, and considering how cool and chaotic the world is, it was a little disappointing not hearing more from these entities that definitely serve as major parts of the game.
The different gun sounds, however, are fantastic! They may sound like average guns to the untrained ear, but the creator did a great job making these guns sound almost as weird as they are named. The explosiveness of the Blunderbloom is overwhelming and a joy to use every time.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE
Atomicrops‘ visuals are interesting. The fusion of dark and dingy colors with bright and almost neon-like colors does an amazing job of helping the player to clearly see different things on the screen. There are some choices that I find to be a bit weird, particularly the bombing circles to indicate that a bomb is approaching. These circles look a bit out of place compared to the rest of the visuals, but thankfully they at least serve their purpose.
The boss designs are incredible, and I love how they transition and look even more interesting as they evolve or transform. It just shows how much time and energy was put into each of the individual character sprites throughout. From the playable characters to the suitors to the mutants to the bosses, all of the different ones look great and add so much to the game.
The areas themselves are pretty bland, as they definitely play second fiddle to the character designs, but they still serve their purpose well and help communicate to the player quickly where you are and how far away you are from the farm.
I did not experience any major performance problems outside of my avatar. On two different occasions, her arm holding the gun would spaz out, but it still functioned as normal. It just looked strange.
At $14.99, Atomicrops is a steal, especially if you are a fan of roguelike games similar to The Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon. The fact that this is a never-ending game to a degree, its value heavily depends on your investment.
Each season takes a good 10-15 minutes depending on your skill and setup, and a solid game will last you roughly two hours if you manage things well. Like I said, your time with the game relies on how much you enjoy roguelikes and how often you will return to your land for another round of Farm, Marry, Kill.
For the price, you are definitely getting a solid and fun game, an incredible soundtrack, dark and beautiful visuals, and an amazingly deep game if you learn how to survive the seasons and the bosses.
Story - 6/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Audio - 9/10
Visuals & Performance - 8/10
Value - 8/10
Atomicrops is an amazing addition to the roguelike genre. Although it can be a bit overwhelming to manage all the things that need to be done, the learning curve is not so strenuous, and the uniqueness of combining all of the essential elements makes for a crazy and fun experience. If you are a fan of roguelike twin-stick shooters, I highly recommend the Atomicrops. It will challenge you in new ways and entertain in the process.
- Great and unique gameplay
- Marrying is funny and useful!
- Boss fights are incredible
- Soundtrack is excellent
- Mutated pigs and cows!
- Guns breaking
- Can be overwhelming and chaotic