If farming in the post-apocalypse sounds like a great career choice to you, Atomicrops is the farming simulation you need in your life. Let me rephrase. Do you like mutant bunnies with guns, marriage to water spirits, and planting crops in ways that make them combine into massive, mutated plants? If this still sounds appealing, continue reading our Atomicrops review to find out why this mishmash of genres is worth your time.
What is Atomicrops?
Some say it’s a farming simulator, others say its bullet hell game, and some even say it’s a tower defence. We say it is all of these. In Atomicrops you inherit a farm from your uncle and moments before you start your career as a farmer, a nuclear bomb explodes and your quest for survival starts. Atomicrops mixes a bunch of different genres together to deliver what we think is an excellent and addictive game. In this Atomicrops review, we will look at some prominent genres that contribute to the experience and why you should seriously consider giving it a go.
The core gameplay loop of Atomicrops revolves around a highly replayable experience. Atomicrops is divided into four seasons that you must survive to win the game. If you manage to get through each season (and its boss) and then beat the final boss, you beat the game. Depending on the pace you play at, an entire run takes between 1-2 hours.
Of course, most runs are much shorter since dying is mostly what you will be doing. At the end of each season, you are rewarded with a currency that you can use to buy permanent incremental upgrades to make your chances of survival slightly more likely.
At the time of writing, I have over 20 hours in-game and the loop of dying-and-trying is not boring yet. This is largely because of the randomness of each new run. There is a large variety of items, weapons, crops, and even farm animals that keep each run fresh. The combination of items you get depends on RNG and the different combinations notably changes the way a run plays out.
I have my preferred crops, animals, weapons, and items, but I rarely have access to them all at the same time. This is one area of the game that I would have liked to have some more control over. As it currently stands each run is completely random, so it is very difficult to build for a specific strategy. This is somewhat frustrating as I had a lot of fun with certain combinations of items only to know that the likelihood of having that combo again is slim.
Apart from this decidedly small piece of criticism, the roguelike core of Atomicrops is a satisfying and rewarding experience. Upgrades are small but useful, and you can feel the progress as you try over and over again.
“Farming simulation” is sometimes used to explain what you can expect from Atomicrops, but it is perhaps a tad misleading. The farming simulation aspects of Atomicrops are minimal and more of a functional capability meant to empower you to beat the different bosses at the end of each season.
The farming experience boils down to either buying or looting seeds, planting them, tending to them, and harvesting the yield to get money to buy more seeds, weapons, or enhancements for the farm. There is hardly any depth to the actual farming aspects of the game, albeit with good reason.
An entire day lasts only a few minutes, and most of that time is taken up by fighting enemies across the map for more and better seeds or defending your precious crops against those that want to eat them. So that means you only have a few seconds here and there to plant, fertilize, and water your crops.
It sounds like a hectic experience, and it is, but it works so damn well.
The most important part of Atomicrops is the combat. You cannot win if you cannot kill each season’s boss. But saying combat is the most important part of Atomicrops is like saying the engine is the most important part of a car. Without wheels, it still will go nowhere. Therefore, combat is the engine room of Atomicrops, enabling you to enjoy all the other parts of the experience.
Combat is very satisfying and quite a challenge. You only have a few lives, and each hit you take crosses out one of your lives. You can plant crops that give you some lives back, but they won’t save you from reckless play. During our time with Atomicrops for this review, we learned the hard way to take good care of our lives.
There is a wonderful variety of enemies in the different biomes around your farm, and almost all of them shoot some form and pattern of bullets. During the later seasons, combat is a frantic experience with bullets and bombs filling up the screen in terrifying fashion.
You have an entire arsenal of weapons to use against the mutants, and these include assault rifles, sniper rifles, grenade launchers, flamethrowers, and even flying squirrels. Guns break at the end of each day (there is a tiny chance they don’t break) so you will have to buy new ones each day. The more money you make with your farm, the better you can upgrade your gun, and therefore you will have an easier time with bosses.
Speaking about bosses, there are five in the game. One after each season ends and a final boss after you survive winter. The first ones are quite easy but the difficulty quickly ramps up with the winter boss, the Bundertaker, posing quite a challenge. The last boss also poses a unique challenge as it is immune against your guns and you damage it by planting, growing, and harvesting crops.
If you want to know more about the different bosses, check out our boss guide here.
Overall, the combat in Atomicrops is excellent and stays challenging and rewarding throughout the game. I do not use challenging lightly, Atomicrops is a tough game, and even just beating year one is a fantastic achievement.
Wrapping up our Atomicrops review
The value of a good roguelike game lies in its ability to continually draw players into its loop of dying-trying-upgrading. If the mechanics, setting, and rewards are good enough players will keep coming back. I am happy to report that like Pavlov’s dog I came back each time Atomicrops rang the bell.
I am currently on year five and I will probably play the game some more before I have had enough. At $14.99, Atomicrops is an absolute gem for lovers of roguelike games. Atomicrops sweetens the deal by having a truly unique setting and really makes your progress visible in many parts of the experience.
That is it for our Atomicrops review. The game is now available on Steam, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, the time is ripe.