Atom RPG Switch Review

Trying to survive the Fallout
User Rating: 7
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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
Atom RPG Switch - Character

Impressive skill list, the typical attributes list for a game of this caliber.

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 - Dialogue

One of the less text-intensive encounters.

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.

Atom RPG - You Rat Bastard

You rat bastard you! Die already!

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
Atom RPG - House Raid

You can touch this!

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.

Atom RPG - Inventory

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

Summary
While Atom RPG does capture the essence of the Fallout series this console port seems to fall short of the exceptional ratings it's seen on Steam. The unintuitive controls take some guesswork, almost to the point of being frustrating, Combat feels slightly awkward as well. The RNG gods seem irritated as trying to get through a battle, early on, unscathed is a challenge. On the flip-side, it is quite playable in undocked mode (on-the-go) but be prepared to read a "lot" of small-ish dialogue text. Nevertheless, characters are filled with engaging and witty dialogue to tell a great story.
Good
  • Stays true to the classic role-playing game design
  • Engaging characters
  • Captures the essence of the Fallout series
Bad
  • Unintuitive user interface that takes a lot of guess work
  • A lot of small text to read in undocked mode
  • Combat RNG feels awkward
7
Good
Written by
Scott is a comic book, music and gaming nerd since the late 70s. Gaming all began on the Colecovision and Atari 2600. He buys and reads new comics every Wednesday from his LCBS and helps run an online Heavy Metal radio station.

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