[Review] Atomic Heist – Nintendo Switch

Written by slimwiggins

Reviewed by Thomas

  • Developer: Live Aliens
  • Publisher: Drageus Games
  • Release Date: 13/09/2019
  • Price: $7.99 / £7.19
  • Review code provided by Drageus Games

Intro

Lately it seems like SHMUP’s are a dime a dozen on the Nintendo eShop or any other platform for that matter. With the amount of arcade style shoot ‘em up games coming out every other week or so, it takes a lot for any such game to stand out among the crowd when vying for your hard earned money. Atomic Heist is an upcoming indie title attempting to do just that. Take a look at my review below to see if you should shell out your cash on this twin stick shooter.

Set Phasers to Fun

The Rhaokyn have infiltrated your sector and overrun your outpost in search of the atomic impulse core. You’re the only pilot standing in their way. You have to grab the core and breach insurmountable defenses to escape with the precious cargo intact. The story is like a translucent bubble surrounding the game. You can see it if you look hard enough but your focus will be on the game itself. It’s not necessary to enjoy the game and is delivered in a few blurbs.

Lightsaber or Life Saver?

Atomic Heist offers a tutorial outside the main campaign. It seemed like an odd choice given most games build that into the first level. As such, I skipped the tutorial because how difficult can a twin-stick rogue-like shooter be? After being demolished numerous times in the first level I decided it was quite challenging indeed. The tutorial offers some handy tips unique to Atomic Heist and shouldn’t be missed.

In Atomic Heist your ship’s movement is controlled by the left thumb stick where as the right stick aims. Death sends you back to the start and you gradually unlock new power ups. Starting from level one after you’ve played through a few times, you can outfit your ship with earned abilities. Some of these increase your health or speed, or even add radar or a HUD. Atomic Heist has a sharp difficulty spike at the beginning which slowly evens out over time. Paying attention to the hints can yield positive effects, such as cluing you in to shortcuts which allow you to skip levels. Using the shortcuts come at a cost. You can pass up on helpful bonuses or weapons and spawn in the middle of tough enemies only to be sent back to the start in utter failure.

The lack of modes and multiplayer limit the stretch that Atomic Heist covers. The levels are randomly generated which make each playthrough new. There are a variety of enemies and weapons so there is freedom in how you approach each match. Your ship regains health over time and also suffers from constant radiation. This mechanic makes it so you slowly die as each game is played. You can pick up items to delay this or fly near scrubbers to clean your ship. Overall, it is a fun twin-stick shooter limited by challenging levels and a lack of game modes. Narrow corridors and unseen dangers can give the enemy an advantage until you learn the quirks of the controls and various elements.

Prepare for Ludicrous Speed

There was nothing spectacular about the graphics in Atomic Heist. It looks like a typical indie space shooter. Your view is over the top with a variety of ships to unlock. Each weapon is designed differently and there is a decent amount of enemy models. The sound is forgettable but not a nuisance. The story is told in a chintzy robotic voice but hardly impacts the gameplay. Atomic Heist ran well on the Nintendo Switch in both docked and handheld mode with no glitches or technical hiccups. 

Final Wrap

Atomic Heist is difficult when you first jump in. As the game progresses and you unlock more abilities, you’ll still face unfair sections due to the randomly generated enemies and levels. There were times when larger ships would spawn around the corner in level one and force you to start over. As with many rogue-likes, going back to level one over and over becomes tiresome, despite a few shortcuts along the way. Atomic Heist isn’t the greatest SHMUP nor is it the worst. It falls right in the middle of the pack. I would recommend waiting for a sale before hitting the thrusters on this one.

*At the time of this publishing Atomic Heist is 50% off in the UK eShop

Pros

  • Randomly Generated Levels
  • Various Unlocks to Equip

Cons

  • Difficult to Start
  • Simple Graphics
  • Humdrum Music

Verdict
Atomic Heist is a basic, straight forward space shooter with nothing memorable to offer.
2.5/5

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