Do you enjoy farming simulators? Do you enjoy unforgiving, punishing farming simulators? Oh, you’ve never played anything like that? Here’s a suggestion– Atomicrops. This unique game is an action roguelike farming simulator offering a medley of experiences. Let’s get into what makes this game so special.
When you think of a pixel farming game, something along the lines of Stardew Valley likely comes to mind. Atomicrops is not really a farming simulator like that perse, but more of a twin stick shooter with bullet hell mechanics to it. It plays much like an arcade shoot ’em up, with one control being used for just about all “farming” related movements. You grow various crops such as roses and pumpkins which you must then water and protect from waves of mutant creatures– this defense is the main focus of the gameplay.
You aren’t locked to one area of the map, though. You can leave the “safety” of your farm and kill enemies for a chance to get fertilizer and more seeds. Fertilizer equals faster plant growth, while more seeds equals more money. I found the farming itself to be pretty simple and ended up waiting by the crops for them to be ready for harvesting while just holding down my B button (the one you use on Switch to harvest the plants). It worked quite well for me, and I was able to defend the crops much better that way than when I’d run around in pursuit of enemies. Before the nightly waves that target your crops hit, however, you should explore the outside skirts of the map and collect seeds. This will get you roses, a good currency to have in town, as well as other possible perks and upgrades (do yourself a favor and find a tractor). You might even get animal companions that assist you (e.g. a pig that tills your soil for you), making your life much easier.
Every third night, there is a boss battle after which (the season ends) you will meet with the mayor in town and be showered with gifts and appreciation. The prizes you receive there will work to increase your power over time.
You can purchase new weapons and upgrades after each night of survival using the money received from harvesting and selling crops. The weapons you purchase from the town will, however, only last one day. They also happen to be a bit pricey when starting out, so I’d recommend waiting until you have a more comfortable amount to spend. They will definitely be worth your spending, especially if you are low on health.
There are also NPCs in town that you can give roses to for an increased relationship level, and even eventually marry. You get benefits for these interactions, such as an increase in health and when married, a person to fight by your side.
There are achievements to be unlocked throughout the game that you can view in the starting area following a death. This is also a place where you can unlock new characters that come with different perks.
Overall, the gameplay was very enjoyable and quite difficult. I died frequently when starting out, but eventually got more comfortable with the mechanics (especially enemies’) and survived through more seasons.
I found the art style in Atomicrops to be gorgeous. The pixel-esque nature adds a bright, colorful aspect to the game that would otherwise not be present. Enemies, NPCs, and even your growing crops can seem adorable. The setting itself changes as you move into newly unlocked areas of the map in both its hue and tone.
I always expect a lot out of the soundtrack when it comes to games like Atomicrops. If the art is this good, then the music likely is as well. I was not disappointed, and I felt that the upbeat, farm-y sounding tunes fit the atmosphere perfectly and helped create a more immersive experience for what could seem to outsiders a simple arcade-like game.
The game is meant to take place on a post-apocalyptic Earth appearing as some sort of wasteland in which your farm is the last to exist. You grow your crops to sustain what little life is left. However, there is little to no plot covered while playing, and none of this becomes very obvious. Interactions with NPCs could also use some work to make a more balanced gameplay experience in which you have short narrative breaks from fighting and defending.
I’d like to see an experience that blends story elements from a game like Stardew Valley or even Rune Factory with the shooting in Atomicrops, but understand that the plot was not meant to be a big part of this.
I would certainly recommend Atomicrops to fans of roguelike games and players seeking more pixel art games. I can’t say I’d recommend this for the general farming simulator fanbase as it is a lot less to do with farming and a lot more to do with defending and fighting, but it could work as a fun introduction to more combat-heavy gaming. The setting, soundtrack, and gameplay all met my expectations and even exceeded them. Definitely give this game a go.
Thank you to Bird Bath Games for this review code. Get ready to farm, marry, and kill– buy your copy of the game now at https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/atomicrops-switch/.