Atomicrops feels like the love child of Stardew Valley and Nuclear Throne, and that’s just as good as it sounds.
You basically run a farm in a post-apocalyptic world, centered in a wasteland and go all bullet hell on mutant creatures that are hungry for nuclear crops.
The aim is to plant seeds, grow vegetables, then gather them before they get gobbled up by these mutant pests. A truly horrifying harvest.
It is absolutely the most bat-shit concept for a game I’ve played in some time and it’s bloody brilliant.
Because it’s not just about unloading clips full of potatoes at oversized slugs or growing a massive onion that laughs and waves back at you, but there’s the added dimension of providing for your town.
Yep, see the harvest you cultivate during each round is then brought back with you – providing it wasn’t eaten – to town where you can trade your plants and vegetables for upgrades and new abilities.
Seasons are split into cycles, and at the end of a season, the Mayor will tell you how nourished the townsfolk are based on your efforts. The better fed people are, the greater the rewards.
And then the game stops being about mindless mutant murder because you also find that the creatures actually drop a fertiliser which can improve the quality of the crops.
Interestingly, as you progress, the game also takes a swerve toward Don’t Starve Ville as you gradually open up the map by gathering bridge building kits. These can be collected from the Mayor but also purchased, and it enables you to reach new areas.
Each area, of course, houses different mutant types and therefore different plant and vegetable seeds for you to grow.
And as if all of that isn’t enough, you can even get married to your ‘kindred spirit’ in the local town, and then they will fight alongside you.
This game is absolute madness and it’s later levels and years get absolutely horrendously hard. You will definitely need as much help as you can get as you head into Years 8,9, and 10.
Of course, once you die, it’s a true game over and you start over from scratch. Which initially seems quite rough, but as anyone who’s played these types of games before will tell you, it also teaches you a lot about how to play and adapt your playstyle.
It’s about striking the balance between tending to your crops, while also moving out of the way of projectiles and trying to stay alive. It’s hard work, and Atomicrops does not hold your hand at any point. But the game has a seriously addictive hook.
You’ll be surprised at how long you’ve spent by the time you’re ready to quit, but also by how much you’ve learned. You’ll figure out what the important upgrades are, when to upgrade them, and how’s best to use them.
It’s all part of the tough learning curve that Atomicrops has and one which is going to result in disappointment time after time.
Learning the lay of the land will be just as crucial to your survival, as well as understanding what different creatures do, but also paying close attention to your time limit. Once it’s night time, you need to go back to defending your crops, or you’ll go home emptyhanded.
Atomicrops is an excellent balancing act that will keep you on your toes time after time, but the further you get, the more you’ll unlock, and the better prepared you’ll be next time.
This is one of those mashups that probably shouldn’t work, but really truly does and will hook you for hours on end. Compared to others in the genre, Atomicrops truly is out standing in its field.
Atomicrops is now available on PC, PS4, XO, and Switch
Tested on Switch