I ought to like this recreation greater than I do.
Atone is an fascinating beast, combining features of journey, puzzle, and rhythm genres along with a shocking quantity of edu-tainment (about Norse mythology) and a shocking variety of cutscenes, to inform a tragic, however pretty rote story that I’ve seen a bit too typically in video games currently. Atone is an Apple Arcade refugee, which helps clarify the visible and gameplay simplicity, and throughout the first twenty minutes, you’ll have skilled what’s primarily your complete gameplay loop.
You might have conversations with NPCs, sometimes selecting your individual response. You’ll stroll round an overhead map speaking with folks, which unlocks conversations with different folks; go from home to deal with studying fascinating tidbits about Norse mythology; and clear up an environmental puzzle. When you’ve completed all that, a prolonged cutscene performs, throughout which period you’ll interact in Atone’s distinctive fight gameplay, which is an fascinating Guitar Hero-like rhythm recreation.
Inside that tutorial section, you’ll play as Thyon, the chief of a village who goes after a monster who murdered its inhabitants. Whether or not you win the battle or not, Thyon will fall to the monster’s blade, which is witnessed by his younger daughter Estra. The sport then picks up a while later–Estra is a younger grownup residing on her personal however as soon as the monster reappears, she journeys out to get closure (the violent sort).
From right here, you’ll be doing the identical stuff you did through the tutorial part, simply extra of it, with some genuinely fascinating visible puzzles which had been my favourite a part of the sport however sometimes drift into being too summary for their very own good. Some are fairly simple (press these symbols in the precise order) whereas others are significantly more durable (translate this numbering system to unlock a door) however I loved all of them. I obtained somewhat sick of speaking to folks in order that I may then speak to different folks, particularly as a result of most of the conversations go on somewhat too lengthy and not one of the characters outdoors of Estra had been significantly memorable. Cutscenes proceed to weave into the story, and I could be extra forgiving of them if I’d loved Atone’s artwork fashion, however alas, ‘twas to not be.
Atone’s character design is clearly impressed by Genndy Tartakovski (Samurai Jack, the superior Clone Wars cartoon, Primal): skinny, angular characters who are likely to look higher in animation than in static photos, however there’s sadly not loads of animation in Atone, even throughout fight sequences, that are extra moody than action-packed. I usually get pleasure from Tartakovski’s works, that are additionally extra temper than motion, however I feel he has a greater sense of timing, scale, and ambiance. The environments are equally bare-bones, which is each good and dangerous. Whereas distinctive, it’s typically tough to inform the place you’ll be able to and may’t go.
I loved the music in overworld areas however not throughout fight–it’s a bit too heavy on the synth, not practically as toe-tapping or beat-driven as you’d anticipate from, you recognize, a fight encounter. I do not want “By way of the Fireplace & Flames,” however I want one thing with a stable beat. This explicit rhythm minigame shouldn’t be as visually distinctive as you may like, both. You might have between one and 4 buttons to press as notes come down the freeway, however the notes themselves are all the identical coloration and sometimes come within the form of staccato sample you’d see in one thing like Guitar Hero or DDR, however with out visible differentiation, it’s sometimes difficult to inform what the order is. To be honest, Atone appears conscious of this downside, and provides you a reasonably extensive window for fulfillment, however the instances the place Estra took a success had been felt as a lot the fault of the interface as my very own timing. You possibly can permit a lot tighter success home windows with different-colored prompts and notes, and these fight encounters could be a lot simpler to trace. It’s a wierd absence.
Cutscenes are absolutely voiced however come a bit too typically and have a tendency to heart across the Norse gods up and leaving Midgard after having a falling-out with people. The voice forged is sweet–no one actually had a voice I anticipated (particularly Estra’s anuran companion), which I discovered myself having fun with. The general story didn’t actually do it for me–hearts corrupted by darkness but once more–however it’s well-told and well-paced.
However for me personally, Atone’s best impediment is that it’s simply not terribly participating. I word right here that I’ve had the sport for a few month now. The same old evaluate turnaround time is every week, possibly ten days if it’s an enormous recreation. I simply discovered it tough to seek out the motivation to grind out an hour right here and there. My spouse watched me play Atone for awhile and at one level remarked that each one I used to be doing was speaking to folks and fixing puzzles, and she or he’s not mistaken. For a few of you pricey readers on the market, that could be all you want, however I used to be unhappy.