Atomicrops takes several fan-favorite genres, sticks them in a blender, and shoots forward one of the best and craziest games of 2020.
We first stumbled upon Atomicrops at Gamescom 2019, just before it went into Early Access. Since then, the game just kept getting better and better with every update until we finally arrived at this final version. Now that the game is officially out, we dive in once again to see how it ended up.
The short answer? Atomicrops is an absolute blast.
Atomicrops was updated many times over its Early Access stage, and every update brought massive changes and improvements. We used to mark every upcoming update on the calendar, so we’ll never miss a new feature or fresh content. Of course, as the launch date crept closer, the updates stopped pouring, and all we could do was wait.
Now that Atomicrops is out, everything the developers at Bird Bath Games built towards comes together into a crazy mess of action, agriculture, crafting, romance, and more insane features we dare not mention.
Since the plot is merely an excuse for all this wonderful, wonderful chaos, let’s get it out of the way quickly: You are a farmer trying to grow your fruits and vegetables in peace. Unfortunately, the world is in the midst of a nuclear holocaust, so you have to protect your mutated crops from bright pink bunnies and other terrifying pests.
Along the way, you will encounter bosses and diverse enemies through the seasons of the year. Every year is tougher than the last, just like real-life.
When Genres Collide
Atomicrops is packed with elements from multiple genres. The first and most obvious one is the farm simulator. Although quite shallow compared to the celebrated Stardew Valley, farming is the main thing you do. Growing different kinds of fruits and vegetables is what this game is all about.
But those are no ordinary fruits and vegetables. They were mutated due to all the nuclear fallout and became alive (well, more alive than usual). They make cute little sounds, and even dance in place or jump in the air.
If you plant them in tight groups and fertilize them with the blood of your enemies, they will combine into a huge vegetable or a tree that will yield high-quality crops in larger numbers.
At the end of every day-night cycle, you will travel to the nearby town to sell your crops for cold hard cash. Here, the second genre pops up – the roguelike. You will spend your hard-earned money on extra seeds, weapons, and upgrades so you’re better prepared for the next cycle.
Welcome to Your Agricultural Hell
You will spend your days taking care of your farm and exploring four different zones on the map: The bright and sunny east, the desert to the west, the jungle to the south, and the arctic pole up north. These zones differ from one another by how they look, but also by the enemies inhabiting them.
And here we get to the action part of the game. Each area is packed with all sorts of enemies (most of them are rabbits). Since Atomicorps is also inspired by the twin-stick shooter and bullet hell genres, your screen will quickly fill up with critters and their bullets, trying to kill you.
Another roguelike element of note is how the game punishes you for every mistake you make. Each hit will cost a health point, and you don’t have many of those – only eight at the lowest difficulty level. It is extremely difficult to regain your life during combat or to increase your total HP.
You get different items for each enemy camp you destroy – extra seeds, livestock, and weapon upgrades. Any animal you liberate will be teleported back to your farm and assist you with its maintenance. Cows will water the plants, and chickens will weed your garden and lay eggs for you to sell.
Just like you can upgrade your character’s abilities, so can you improve your animal sidekicks and your defenses. These include automatic turrets, scarecrows, and upgrades that affect the quality of your crops. For example, you can upgrade your turrets to increase their rate of fire, range, or knockback.
But it doesn’t end there: your turrets can be upgraded to affect your crops as well. They can water plants near them, and even speed up their growth rate. It might take time, but you can slowly transform your farm into an efficient machine without wasting resources on dead-end strategies.
Of course, the RNG element is quite significant, and most of the time, you won’t know which builds and upgrades will be available during your run. The random builds are a lot of fun to discover and make sure you almost never approach a situation the same way twice. This diversity in gameplay is one of the reasons we keep coming back to Atomicrops over and over again.
Take a Bride, a Groom, or a Bug
The different character and farm builds are not only affected by your upgrades, but also by your partner. The game gives you the freedom to choose a love interest with no regard to sex or gender. And you can court two potential partners simultaneously.
During the day, you can cultivate roses and send them to your partner of choice to strengthen your relationship. But roses are quite rare, and they’re also how you increase your total HP. Then again, every time you bestow a rose on your partner, they will give you a bonus in return. Eventually, you two will get married, and they will join you on your farm.
The partner you chose will affect the rest of your run since they each carry different bonuses. There are tractors and other farm equipment, magic scrolls, and much more weird stuff they can bring to your farm.
If you do not want to commit to just one partner, you can upgrade yourself with the polygamy perk, so if you collect enough roses, you can bring two partners to the farm! That’s not hot enough for you? Well, no one says you can only court humans…
The Changing of the Seasons
As mentioned before, each run takes one day and one night, at the end of which you will go to town for supplies and equipment. During the day, you will explore the different zones, and during the night, you will return to your farm and defend it from various enemies.
Three of these cycles are an in-game season, and at the end of each season, you will encounter a massive boss. After defeating it, the townfolk will throw a festival in your honor to celebrate your achievement, and to reward you according to how well you did during the season.
During your runs, you will gather cornucopias you can sink into one out of two route: cats or anthills.
We weren’t able to figure out what the cats do, but upgrading your anthills grant permanent upgrades to different parts of your farmhouse. These upgrades are very costly, and for that reason, you might find yourself starting new runs only so you can collect enough cornucopia tp help you further along in the game.
Atomicrops is Atomic Fun
Atomicrops is colorful, loud, and crazy, and that’s precisely what the developers were aiming for. We found ourselves humming a tune from its soundtrack and thinking about our latest run on multiple occasions, even while not playing. For us, that speaks volumes.
Along with the wacky tunes, we get intensely bright pixel art visuals. Both, together with the overall playful ambiance, are perfect for a game such as this. It’s colorful and weird and funny and everything you think it’s going to be just by looking at it.
Atomicrops was an amazing game through its entire Early Access phase, and it remains one after its full release. We can’t recommend it highly enough.
Developer: Bird Bath Games
Publisher: Raw Fury
Release Date: May 28, 2020
Our Atomicrops review copy was provided by the publisher.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.