Sometimes what you want isn’t always what you’ll get, and sometimes what you get is even better than what you wanted. Like inheriting your uncle’s farm and getting yourself ready to live that sweet, sweet peaceful rancher life. Except, things go south right out the gate and you get slammed with some sort of unexplained nuclear blast. Now you get to live the exact opposite of a peaceful life, harvesting sentient vegetables, slaughtering droves of jacked up, murderous rabbits, and falling in love with a mutant hottie or two.
That my friends is what Atomicrops from Bird Bath Games is all about! A farming sim that forsakes all that is tranquil and wholesome, and replaces it with a mountain of frantic bullet riddled chaos. Well, for an established maintenance sim aficionado such as myself, did this game rot on the vine like irradiated grapes? Or quickly become the potato of my eye?
I’m pretty late to the party with this game actually, but I’m not terribly sad about that since it got some pretty fantastic updates and free DLC added in since its release last year. I hesitated for so long with this game because I was honestly confused about the many things I’d heard and read about it. It’s a farming sim, but it has twin-stick battles. Days only last less than two minutes and at night you fight off hordes of crop destroying, farm animal stealing enemies and bosses. Oddly enough the one major game changer I didn’t read along my travels was that it was a rogue-lite. I almost dropped it right away when I found that out given the level of difficulty I faced upon my very first run. But I decided to accept the challenge and soldier on.
Atomicrops is a pretty unique experience to which there is nothing really to compare it against. As a farming sim it only kind of fits the bill since you have to plant, water, and harvest crops for money. You get some farm animal helpers, but you don’t really have to tend to them other than preventing aliens from abducting them and turning them into weird pods on your farmland. You can upgrade your house but that stuff takes place outside of your standard run, in kind of an outside hub world.
As a rogue-lite, almost everything about each new run will be different each time you jump in, with very little carry over. You’ll always start with the same quartet of potato seeds and whatever perk your character of choice comes with, but from there on out everything else is completely randomized. What seeds you’ll find, what bosses you’ll encounter, what weapons you’ll have to choose from, what power ups you’ll find, absolutely everything is left to chance and your ability/desire to explore the various biomes.
Though the perma-death thing kind of threw me at first, it eventually grew on me as it meant I got to experience more of the game and simply work at getting better and better with each new run I started. Something that could be interesting for a different game mode though would be to let the player continue their run from year to year, still keeping the permanent death mechanic of course. As it stands, once you complete the year you are set right back to zero to start all over again. So, if you were lucky enough to have a really good run with lots of super helpful power ups you then have to lose it all and start all over, even if you won and defeated the last boss. It just kind of feels like a let down – to me anyway.
I absolutely loved the sheer volume of weirdness that this game brings to the table. From the creepy variety of vegetables that only get more creepy the bigger they get, to the wide cast of mutated marriage candidates, to the plethora of pun-tastic names of… well just about everything! The Par-sniper (sniper rifle that looks like a parsnip), Beeson (bison + bees), and of course, not to be forgotten, one of my favorite bosses, The Bundertaker (a giant, super swole bunny riding a moon, who falls asleep if he takes too much damage).
This game is no slouch in the challenge department. To be frank, it’s hard as balls! If you’re in the market for a peaceful farming sim experience then this game is definitely not what you’re looking for. However, if you don’t mind switching things up and getting your hands dirty then absolutely don’t pass up on this game. I enjoyed my time with Atomicrops so much more than I ever expected to. It quickly became a hardcore obsession for me. And though I’ve still yet to make it past Year 3 this is definitely a game that will have me coming back again and again in the years to come.