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 Post subject: Atomine (XB1 - PS4 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:06 am 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 268
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
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From the bottom of One's heart once again.

This is gonna be something a little different from the Atomic Heist review, this is Atomine, the Cyberspace rogue-like shooter.
The story of this game is basically "Viruses are for everyone" since 2011 the military created the first cyber weapon to attack unknown hackers who hijacked nuclear plants in the north east using worms to attack them. Some time later, the virus became available for everyone to download and modify it as they like for their own purpose. That virus is called "Atomine".
As an Atomine operator, you have to enter the National Army Database (NAD) to stop the launch of the Icarus Missile, a three-staged thermonuclear warhead that is about to be launched by an unspecified enemy.

The game itself is an Twin stick shooter that uses the left stick for move the Atomine and the right stick to shoot in a specific direction. Like Atomic Heist, the game uses procedural generation for the stage layouts, so you can't rely on enemy memorization. This can be critical in later stages, since the game throws you the strong "purple field" covered enemies which take a lot of hits. While the game's rooms are very wide, there's a few instances where the player will have to navigate through very narrow corridors and that's in the final stages of the game. This is where the game goes troublesome, as the walls can block your visibility and combined with strong enemies and no room for bullet evasion except for moving back out, it will result on sure death.
Like in Atomic Heist, dying in Atomine is a zero-tolerance for error. Die once and you have to start all over, and what's worse there's no way to obtain extra lives during your gameplay or picking it on modules, and to add insult to injury, one of the unlockable Atomines only has 3.00 HP, an instant death crap-shoot. So, get used to say hi to the "National Army Database Hacking" level again and again and again. There is a continue option, but that only works if you quit on a stage and you want to resume the game later, so it doesn't help much. One thing is being hard but fair through balanced factors like damage tolerances, lives stock and stage length, and another is being stupidly hard for the sake of being stupidly hard, and Atomine falls on this problem.



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Fight with everything, but only with whatever the game wants to give you.

The game gives you the option of using Modules to increase your power, fire rate or bullet distance. From Gun.Smoke-like Double shots (remember the cowboy firing like "|/" and "\|"?) to short-ranged but fast-paced firing and explosive projectile weapons. However, with a plethora of weapons it'd be convenient to allow the player to choose which one to select spending those black-and-blue orbs, right?. Unfortunately, the game does that at pure random, deciding which upgrade will give you in your mission. So you'll be most of the times playing with the default setting because the game gives you short ranged firing or multiple shots that don't cover frontal fire. Also, some achievements require different weapon combinations (Electricity + Triple Back), so it's pure unnecessary random nonsense if you ask me.



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Atomine in "Techni-Screw up".

Along with the enemy and the random stage layouts, there will be instances where you'll be hacked and you can stop that by inputting a sequence mentioned with the control pad (Ex: Left, down, down, up, right, left, up). Failing to do that will only result in "glitching" the screen. However, if you clear a stage with that condition you'll unlock an achievement.



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A Cyber-oasis in the middle of the electronic nowhere.

Hidden in the game, there's secret areas that will lead you to places such as the one depicted above. Along with the chance of catching a breathe, you can find either extra energy or an orb to unlock another power-up in the black room. In quite rarely times, you'll find enemies that you've must destroy before picking the item and return to the game. But to find those you'll have to shoot to the columns, and this is quite frustrating since there's little-to-none hints to tell which one is real and which one hides the secret door.



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To quote Kyle Busch: "I'm not surprised about anything. Congratulations." (minus the nose pick and mic drop).

After clearing the levels and defeating the most pathetically easy final boss battle, you'll be rewarded with the apparent launch of the Icarus Missile as the ending says "ICARUS_MISSILE LAUNCHED" and the NAD data is deleted after that without indication of whether the missile was launched or not since there's no "LAUNCH ABORTED" message to confirm.



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To Be Conglaturated...

Either you win or lose the game, you'll be in the Game Over screen where you get the "AtoCoin" bar progress and you see what new module you've unlocked.



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It IS POSSIBLE to have unlockables by both playing and buying with in-game currency rather than those micro-transactions.

The Modules screen is the shop of the game, where you use the accumulated AtoCoins to unlock new upgrades. However, there's upgrades that you can by and others that are unlocked by playing the game. Those available with AtoCoin spending are marked with a "Lock" symbol and the game completing have an "?" symbol.

Clearing the game unlocks the New Run+, which allows you to start a new session carrying all the modules and upgrades you've got. Playing in this mode is essential to unlock further Modules and mining more AtoCoins by both killing enemies and picking the "AtoCoin" upgrade.



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It gets jammed easily i'm afraid. Yes, it's all made from currently existing technology.

Apparently, one of the unlockable Atomines, the "V.3.0" has the worst problem of all: The game disables the Weapon selection option, so if you pick a black-blue orb, you'll be stucked with the upgrade/weapon it gives you. While some could consider this as a return to traditional shmup upgrading, in Atomine is another turn for the worse because the game can switch your long range firing for an "ultra-short" one or a weaker weapon, resulting in higher risks of losing the game.



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Enemy approaching: Unknown.
Sub-name: The end is now here.


Graphically is a different take on the concept of Cyberspace and the electronic universe that this comprises. Rather than an universe of circuitry, grids and computer fonts like Thunder Force V and Ace Combat 3 Electrosphere used, the game relies on abstract worlds within each maze using unique color combinations that bring an unique world feeling and look, combined with the randomly generated level layouts, it improves the overall aspects of the levels this game has to offer. There's caligraphy errors in the game like "Avarage" and "Player gets 2 Additionals AtoCoin" (instead of "2 additional AtoCoins"), those ranks up with the "Horizonal" typo in Triggerheart Exelica, "Arer" in Zanac AI and "Horming" in Blazing Star and Megaman X.

The music is what you can call "Experimental Electronic" from the late 70-early 90's era in the style of Kraftwerk. However, the first levels have an R-Type and Rez feeling blended on them. However, the game relies on the idea of using one track for more than one level, for instances, three of the final stages uses the same theme.


CURIOSIMINE
- The achievement icons are based on the Alphabet and the 0 to 9 numeric system.
- The "Flux" achievement and its "Back to 1985" description are a reference to Back to the Future (Flux Capacitor)
- The technical specification of the Icarus Missile as a three staged missile implies the missile is an ICBM (InterContinental Ballistic Missile).



While the visuals can be interesting, the zero-tolerance to death of this game can be infuriating, even worse than Atomic Heist. You've may want to play it just to see how many achievements you can get before leaving the game in ragequit (you'll probably get around 30 of 38).
Being hard is one thing, but forcing you to start back after losing your single life is only an exercise of how idiotic a game can be, and that is far from fun. If Broken Arms Games motto is "Play your life", then they had a harsh idea of life when they made this game.
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Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki


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