Earth Atlantis is a side-scrolling shooter with rogue-like mechanics that centers around hunting sea monsters in a post-apocalyptic underwater world. The game is reminiscent of 2016’s Song of the Deep but focuses more on action than a narrative experience.
The sea is filled with dangerous machines in the form of various marine life. You will gain access to 4 ships, each with unique stats and weapons. The game is done as a 14th-century living sketchbook reminiscent of times when the sea was uncharted. While exploring the player will see recognizable landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the columns of Rome and more. The visuals are overall enjoyable, but they often obscure attacks from enemies, resulting in some increasingly frustrating deaths.
Earth Atlantis’ campaign should last 5-10 hours based on the difficulty and how well players can traverse the map-less world. Progress can be encumbered with all the need to backtrack for upgrades as taking damage removes them randomly. Gathering ship upgrades can be tedious since they randomly rotate between 15+ locations after being collected. The upgrades come in one of 4 types, each with their own strengths. Missiles, bombs, electricity, and homing rockets all have value at one time or another.
Searching for ship upgrades takes exorbitant amounts of time and often feels more like a chore than an enjoyable part of exploration. This can lead to feelings of frustration, especially after spending time looking for specific upgrades, only to find out you would have benefited from a different upgrade upon reaching the next boss. The intensity of boss battles and the sheer number of projectiles flying at the player is often overwhelming. But these are still manageable and by far the most enjoyable part of the game. Boss encounters will also spike in difficulty since they can kill in a single hit. However, skillful pattern recognition and patience can help prevent this.
Completing the game will unlock Hunter mode which tasks the player with killing a set number of bosses within a time limit. All kills will reward the player with more time, but there are no continues if the player dies or runs out of time. After clearing both modes, there is little left to do other than finishing off your hunting list.
Earth Atlantis will appeal to fans of Metroidvania-style games, although on a much lighter scale. And it combines action like Gradius and the exploration like Song of the Deep. This makes for an enjoyable experience, one that will challenge the player with dodging a harrowing amount of projectiles while hunting sea monsters. The game suffers from its lack of narrative, replayability, and tools to make exploration fun, but overall, the experience is still enjoyable. Its rogue-infused gameplay elements steep the game with difficulty, making each hard-fought victory rewarding. It also creates the need for more tediousness exploration which makes deaths feel even more painful than they need to be.
While I enjoyed my first playthrough, there seems to be little to draw me back and take a second dive into this sea of monsters. The quick dip in the sea will be worth it for fans of the genre, but if you’re looking for a game to take a deep dive with, then you should probably look elsewhere.
Rating: 3/5 Atoms
Earth Atlantis currently retails for $14.99 and is available for download on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC on their respective digital stores.
*Earth Atlantis was reviewed using a retail download key for the Nintendo Switch provided by Headup games.