Playing some Fallout 76 months ago I started to yearn to be able to play the original Fallout on a modern system. The Fallout series is a group of post-apocalyptic RPGs. I had started Fallout 1 when it first came out way back in 1997 but never completed it. Then one day on my guild’s forum pages I saw someone mention Atom RPG as being a spiritual successor to the Fallout series. I missed the boat on its Kickstarter and eventually its release in 2018 onto Steam PC. I saw it got positive reviews on Steam but I never quite pulled the trigger.
Months ago I saw it advertised for forthcoming release on the Nintendo Switch and figured this was my chance. So I sought out developer Atom Team‘s post-apocalyptic turn-based RPG on Nintendo Switch for review hoping to relive the Fallout moments I had. Did it succeed? Welcome to our Nintendo Switch review of Atom RPG!
Setting The Stage
The Atom Team used all the appropriate buzzwords about Atom RPG in their description. It’s a post-apocalyptic game, “inspired by classic CRPGs: Fallout, System Shock, Deus Ex, Baldur’s Gate”. I figured this was the “one” and in principle, that’s not a far off statement.
You’ll play in 1986 when both the Soviet Union and the Western Bloc were destroyed in nuclear bombings upon each other. You are one of the survivors of this nuclear holocaust. You’ll end up investigating this Soviet Wasteland trying to figure out where you fit in.
Spiritual Fallout Successor For Most Of Its Implementation
Atom RPG as a whole is quite true to the Fallout and CRPG formula. The game is played from a 3/4 overhead perspective. You can rotate the camera around in a 360-degree range. You’ll encounter many, as one would expect, NPC characters with full dialogue trees, and yes, plenty of reading. There are no voiceovers in this one sadly. It would have been especially nice in the undocked mode where the text is challenging to read but not impossible. There just tends to be a lot of it! Fortunately, a lot of the character dialogue is well written and each individual contains some wit, humor, personality, and is well translated.
You’re able to pick up a lot of strange things and craft them into something useful, once you learn the recipe. Random encounters happen where you’ll be placed into a turn-based mode. And in true Fallout fashion, some of the first beasts you’ll face are, yes, rats. Trying to get away from encounters, unscathed, where you’re outnumbered seemed to be a challenge. There are also times you’re right next to a beast and you’ll miss with your fists. It just felt like the early game seemed to be a bit harder than it needs to be.
There are also plenty of skills to choose from including Tinkering, Bartering, and Gambling. There is also the familiar “green outline” around the objects you can interact with. Selecting your “A” button will bring up a radial dial with commands for that object, e.g. “Search”, “Use”, etc. Bottom line, most of the elements you’d expect from a full CRPG!
Console Port Falls Short
So Atom RPG seems to fire on all cylinders in some regards so where does it fall short? Unfortunately, the console port gets blackballed for severely being marred by unintuitive controls. It took me a long time to figure out how to move objects from a beast drop to my inventory as well as how to load a weapon. Another example is using the “+” and “-” buttons to assign and remove skill points. In hindsight, it seems like a logical choice but most games I’ve played on the Switch those buttons were reserved for system menu pop-ups, maps, etc.
A high mark that stood out from the port is that the graphics looked crisp in docked mode on a larger monitor. Most Switch games tend to be a bit fuzzy in this area but Atom RPG had a certain crispness.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on the Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.
COMPARE TO: Fallout