ATOMINE ($2.99) by Broken Arms Games is a dual-stick shooter roguelike that feels futuristic and technical. If you enjoyed games like The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and Soul Knight, then you will love what ATOMINE brings to the App Store.
As much as I like to de-stress with some relaxing puzzles, sometimes I need a bit of "pew pew" action to unwind, especially if I'm upset about something. For these moments, I strongly prefer arcade style games, specifically dual-stick shooters. This is because these games let me take out my anger in the form of lasers and explosions, which is much more productive than say, me punching a wall. Plus, the action gets my blood pumping, and I feel alive with adrenaline. Who doesn't like that feeling? I can't get enough roguelike dual-stick shooters in my life, so when I saw ATOMINE on the App Store, I had to get my hands on it.
App Feels Like
App Feels Like
Visually, ATOMINE has a unique aesthetic. The game is fully rendered in 3D with an angled, top-down perspective. There's a bit of minimalism with the graphics, as the structures and character sprites are like digital blueprints and various geometric shapes. In a way, ATOMINE's visuals remind me slightly of Deus Ex GO, just without the finished polish. The colors used in ATOMINE range from soft, muted shades to bright and vibrant hues that contrast nicely with each other.
Explosions are aplenty in the game, and they have fantastic block particle effects when they happen. And if you're a fan of cool screen effects, ATOMINE has a nice visual "glitch" that occurs when you're hit by enemy fire. Animations are smooth and fluid, so I had no issues of lag on my iPhone 7. To top things off, the game has a blood-pumping electronic soundtrack that fits the overall theme, and the sound effects are fun to hear. Needless to say, the developers did not disappoint with the visual and audio design of ATOMINE.
While players who pick up ATOMINE and start playing don't get a narrative, there's actually a story behind everything, and it's rather interesting.
Things start out in 2011 with Sergey Ulasen, who discovered STUXNET, which is a computer virus that spread through Microsoft Windows and targeted the Siemens Industrial control system. It lay dormant for years, waiting to activate. STUXNET is the first malicious spyware that is able to spy on and subvert industrial networks, and even includes a programmable logic controller rootkit. STUXNET has been infecting and largely affecting targets such as nuclear power plants and oil drilling systems.
Atomine is a virus created soley for putting an end to STUXNET. However, the only catch is that ATOMINE starts off fairly weak, and must grow in strength in order to reach and infect STUXNET while compiling itself into the source code.
In ATOMINE, players embark on procedurally generated runs that involve waves of enemies coming at you before you can proceed. You'll have to defeat all enemies to reveal the portal that takes you to the next stage. Each run gets split up into about 12 stages (nine regular areas and three boss fights), which may not seem like a lot at first, but the game is much harder than you think.
Controls in ATOMINE are simple and intuitive. In the bottom left corner is the virtual joystick for freely moving your Atomine virus around the floor. The bottom right corner has the joystick for aiming and attacking. A subtle line helps indicate your aim. These joysticks are not fixed in position, so players are able to freely move them to a new spot just by touching their thumb on the screen.
As you defeat foes, they will drop green orbs, which may contain experience points, energy, or weapon modules. When you collect enough XP, your Atomine version increases, meaning it's stronger than before. Energy's your health in the game, so it decreases when you get hit. But finding energy refills it by one.
The weapon modules are the biggest and most coveted drops that you'll want. These modules unlock many different options for customizing your Atomine, and they modify your weapons and play style. The modules change your bullet type, number of bullets, rate of fire, and other mutators that prove extremely useful in battle. There's a ton of modules to find, so it only adds to the replay value of ATOMINE.
While ATOMINE is considered a roguelike in the fact that runs are procedurally generated and you'll start from version one if you die, it's not a full roguelike. In fact, it's more of a roguelite because you still have access to all of your weapon modules. So there is some visible progress, if that's one of the reasons you don't like roguelikes.
An action packed dual stick shooter with procedurally generated levels and a rogue-like set up.
As a fan of dual-stick shooters, I must say that ATOMINE is an excellent addition to my collection. I love the high-tech digital world that it takes place in, and the explosions are awesome to see. The soundtrack is also amazing and icing on the cake. Controls are customizable and responsive, which is just what you want in a dual-stick shooter.
While the game seems short with only about 13 total areas in each run, the frantic action and pace make for a true challenge. Enemies detect your presence as you go, so players can't expect to ever be safe when entering a new room. Enemy variety also keeps things fresh since you don't know what you're going to get on each run.
Having the weapon modules is another great part of the game, since players can customize their character to their heart's content. It opens up many different possibilities, and if you prefer finding your own play style in dual-stick shooters, this is a perfect fit.
For the most part, ATOMINE is an excellent dual-stick shooter with a splash of roguelike elements. However, I would think that this game isn't for everyone, since it's pretty difficult, even in the beginning. But with some time and practice, this game gets fairly addictive.
ATOMINE is a worthy addition for anyone's dual-stick shooter collection. The game is jam-packed with beautiful visuals and effects, and the soundtrack is refreshing. Controls are responsive and adjustable, which is a bonus. And while the game is hard, it's pretty addictive and hard to stop once you figure things out.
I highly recommend getting ATOMINE if you're looking for dual-stick shooter action. ATOMINE is available on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for just $2.99. There are no in-app purchases.