Atomicrops Early Access Preview
It’s been a while since I’ve been as addicted to a game as I am with Atomicrops. When I’m playing it, I’m loving every second. When I’m not playing it, I can’t stop thinking about it. Atomicrops is the action-packed, roguelite farming simulator that stole my heart, and I don’t even want it back.
In Atomicrops, you play as a gunslinging farmer with the only plot of arable land in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s your job to grow food for the nearby town and protect your precious crops from the hordes of desperate mutant enemies that attack on a daily basis.
The controls in Atomicrops are extremely easy to get the hang of. You aim with the mouse, left click to shoot, right click to perform farming actions such as tilling soil and planting seeds, and press the space bar to fertilize your crops if you’ve collected enough fertilizer from downed enemies. When your crops grow to maturation, they’ll jump around in place and you simply press alt or middle click to harvest them. However, don’t mistake the simplicity of the controls for ease — Atomicrops will kick your butt over, and over, and over again.
You start out with a 3×3 plot of land, a basket with four potato seeds, a rifle in hand, and four lives that diminish one by one when you take any sort of damage. By day, you’ll be attacked by moles and creatures that will shoot at you and drop fertilizer if you kill them. By night, you’ll have to defend your crops against three brutal waves of enemies. If you survive, you will be taken by helicopter to the town in the morning to sell your crops, purchase weapon upgrades or health, or court the local singles so they’ll join you on your farm. If you lose all of your lives at any point in the game, you’ll lose everything and have to start over completely.
There are three days in each season of the game, with three waves of enemies to defeat at the end of every night. Boss battles will occur at the end of every season, providing a hefty challenge that you’ll need to spend the season preparing for. With the money you earn every morning selling crops, you can buy new guns and weapons and upgrade them for maximum defense.
Not only will acquiring better weapons help you in your plight, but so will some extra sets of hands and machinery around the farm. There are different enemy camps on each side of your property, all with a different biome that yield their own seeds and rewards. To the east, there are lush plains where you can find seeds for crops that grow quickly but require a lot of water, and to the west there is a desert camp where the seeds will cultivate crops that grow slowly but require almost no water. In the north and south there is a winter land and a jungle respectively, but these camps require you to repair their bridges before you can venture over.
The enemy camps are expansive and difficult, and there are a few variations for their layouts that change each time you restart a game and wander over so you never quite know what you’re walking into. Not only are the enemy camps a good place to find seeds in the beginning, but they also offer a plethora of helpful rewards such as tractors, farm animals and scrolls. Tractors are tools that can be used whenever they are charged from their cooldowns, and they offer perks such as cutting all weeds in an area or turning all enemies into fertilizer. Farm animals such as pigs, bees, cows and chickens offer help with day-to-day farming tasks including watering your plants and pulling weeds, and once you acquire them you’ll have them until you die and restart the game.
Though Atomicrops is currently only in Early Access, I found the gameplay to be completely smooth with no glitches or performance issues to complain about. I also found the experience to feel pretty complete, and I’d be extremely curious to see what other mechanics the developers plan on integrating later. In its current state, Atomicrops is a very satisfying experience, and I wouldn’t even suggest waiting for its full release over jumping into the Early Access stage now.
With all of the different camps to explore, perks to acquire, and upgrades to purchase, there are tons of elements to keep you entertained in the otherwise very simple premise of Atomicrops. The pixelated art style is colorful and charming, and the punishing health and progress system will ignite the determined, unrelenting challenger in you that will keep you hitting “New Game” for hours on end. Though the rage of losing everything hit me on more than one occasion, I could not — and still can’t — stop my addiction to this game. It’s Stardew Valley with violence and style, and it’s ridiculously awesome.
Atomicrops is currently available in Early Access on the Epic Games Store.
***Early Access code provided by the publisher.***