Remember the player-versus-player (PvP) turn-based game released by Trion Worlds back in October of 2016 called Atlas Reactor? Players controlled a team of four NPC freelancers. To win a match a player had to be the first to have five kills or the most kills after twenty turns. At the time it seemed to be a unique, tactical PvP experience. Almost two years later it’s announced that the Gamigo Gaming Group is buying Trion and its assets. A little over six months later the game shut down on June 28, 2019. The reason sited not being able to pull in enough money to fund development. Then out of nowhere, recently Gamigo announces a “new” rogue-lite gaming experience set in the Atlas universe, called Atlas Rogues. We were invited to join early access for this game and are here to give you our first impressions of Atlas Rogues available now on Steam PC or through the Glyph client!
The More That Things Change…
While not stated as a revamp / revival of Atlas Reactor it became hard not to compare the two. The first question I had is how Gamigo thinks this “new” experience will succeed where its predecessor failed. I attended the Early Access Livestream where it was mentioned one of the lead developers took it upon himself to champion this game with Gamigo management to bring some form of it back as a product.
When this early access was announced it seemed like some people had the conception that it was a completely different game from Atlas Reactor.
While there are many notable differences I think for the most part Atlas Reactor fans will feel quite at home! Many fan-favorite freelancers are back including Garrison, Rask, Asana, Zuki, and Titus! Each of them has their own unique abilities and in-game chatter to entertain you while you play.
This Is How We Roll… err Run
The major glaring difference between Atlas Reactor and Atlas Rogues is that Atlas Rogues is a solo/co-op player-versus-environment (PvE) based experience. The objective is to prevent the reactor in Atlas from melting down. This is accomplished by completing a “run” of battles within 30 “days”. Selecting a campaign mission, i.e. turn-based battle, costs you a number of variable days, typically more based on the rewards to be reaped.
Currently, mission objectives only entail the “eliminate the enemy” kind. The development team ensures us that more types of objectives are being added.
Failure Is Not An Option?
If you fail a run then your heroes maintain their experience progress, etc. and you’ll need to start a new run. Due to some early on bug issues we were never able to see what happens when you successfully complete a “run” and prevent a meltdown.
There is co-op play so you and a friend can do a joint run. Currently, co-op support is provided in a peer network environment. This means one of the two players has to host a game and give his friend a code to join.
If You Choose To Accept This Mission…
The look and feel of the turn-based, tactical mission gameplay screens will make Atlas Reactor fans feel quite comfortable! You have your four freelancers showing which order they take their turns. You can “sprint”, i.e. move a longer distance than a standard move, which ends your turn or you can move and perform an action or vice versa. Some actions are limited by a stamina-like resource while others have free limited usage. The player performs a full round of actions/moves for his team, which are then carried out, then it’s the enemy’s turn to do the same. There is no time limit on turns so you can plan strategically. This cyclical turn-based pattern carries out until your team dies or you complete the objective.
This new game also adds chance indicators to your freelancers’ actions. Meaning, you chose action and see where it goes. By moving the target arrow around you can highlight areas that enemies are currently in. A red indicator shows what your hit-chance on the enemy in that space is. This allows you to consider all your options.
As you play through runs and fail or succeed you’ll accrue talent points and can assign them to your freelancers to unlock new actions or passive abilities.
Also sprinkled on the mission board are “recon missions”. These are usually text-based scenarios that can award you experience and talent points at the cost of exchange for another resource.
One of the faults of the current game is many of these resource types need to be clarified, e.g. EVOS, OMNI, etc. The game is a little short on help text in its infancy.
No Shop Just Challenges
You start out with four basic freelancers but through the game’s challenges (i.e. achievements) system you can unlock other freelancers. The team states that additional freelancers will be added over time.
There is currently no monetary system we saw in-game and we’re not sure if this is even planned as the game is currently buy-once-to-play.
Call it what you like but Atlas Rogues feels like a close cousin to Atlas Reactor which is a good thing for reactor fans. Atlas Rogues is truly a work-in-progress and it is clearly in its beginning phases. Even so, there is enough here to keep one entertained, perhaps not as the main game as the singular mission objective might get repetitive.
The game has some things it needs to work on before official release. One example is the companion revive system is awkward and not explained well. Some of the large text associated with the revive system hides other game elements.
The team also needs to expand on in-game help to explain some of the resources and a better overview of the “escalation level” process. There’s also reference to things being added to your inventory but it wasn’t obvious how to look at your inventory. Accidental moves at times can be fatal especially with the game not having a single level undo method.
These things are not show stoppers but they could go a long way in making the game less confusing and easier to get into.
Bottom line, the colorful comic book-like artwork, the fun personality of the characters, and the tactical turn-based nature of this early access show a lot of potential for a great and fun game. If you’re an Atlas fan of any sort then for a mere $14.99 you can get onto the ground floor of this game and help shape its future. We’ll continue playing and will look forward to the day that we can hopefully review the official release!