The underwater Steampunk shoot ’em up ‘Earth Atlantis’ seems to have a ton of potential at first glance. Let’s find out if this game is worth a shot!
Published by Headup Games
Developed by Pixel Perfex
Release date: June 1st, 2018
Genre: Shoot ’em up
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 PRO, also available on Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
“The Great Climate Shift” struck at end of the 21st century. Ninety six percent of the earth’s surface is underwater. Human civilization has fallen.
Machines have adopted the shape and form of marine animals.
The ocean is full of creature-machine hybrid monsters. You are a “Hunter” and the new journey begins…
There’s not much story on this game besides the initial loading screen providing the description above, which surely encourages the player to use a steampunk looking submarine (aka Nautilus) to go out looking for sea monsters in order to kill them.
Nautilus is a well-known submarine from Verne’s legendary book… I’m sure most of you know it. The influence of this book in the game seems heavy and in my opinion, a pretty cool thing. The lack of a deep narrative script is somehow aided by this inspiration, which at least delivers some background to it. A bit more lore wouldn’t hurt the game, but instead, make it significantly more intriguing.
Earth Atlantis is presented as a 2D open world side scrolling shoot em up with a very peculiar visual presentation. By watching the trailer, you will be wanting to try it as soon as possible, but the trailer might be better than the real game itself or, at least, way more intense in my opinion.
The way the game works is very simple and basic. You can move the submarine both horizontally and vertically but you can only shoot horizontally. The main direction the Nautilus is facing will indicate on which direction the main weapon will shoot. That’s all you need to know in order to start slaying all kind of underwater monsters.
As you get deeper into the beautifully crafted underwater world, enemies will start filling your screen. As if that wasn’t enough, there are also mines and even air bubbles (generated by crabs) that could damage your ship. The best tip I could give for Earth Atlantis would be to constantly press the shoot button, no matter what; chances are you will hit an enemy after all.
There’s only one map featured and it follows the Metroidvania genre rules, for instance, some areas won’t unlock until you kill a certain boss. The minimap will show some interesting points but it won’t display routes. While there are checkpoints scattered around the map, these will be sparse.
The control scheme is a bit weird since you’ll have to press a button in order to change the direction the submarine is facing, which is a minor flaw but also completely unnecessary in this modern day gaming era. Other than that, the rest of the controls are pretty intuitive and easy.
There are several common enemies each and every one with a different attack pattern, but these might feel repetitive after a while. On the other hand, bosses are varied and most certainly overpowered. This game is not an easy ride at all. Boss battles are chaotic and will turn your screen into a complete mayhem. Most bosses are accompanied by several common enemies, which translates into a ton of projectiles trying to hit you and your dodging skills being put to test.
In order to make things easier, power-ups and health are the loot dropped by enemies. If you collect a certain power-up twice, it will upgrade itself by offering a better version of it.
There are also different unlockable submarines each with its unique main weapon for the player to try. Regarding game modes, once the main quest mode is completed, Hunter mode will unlock. Hunter mode is a time-attack type of game, featuring the same map but completely opened this time and with horde mechanics. 10 minutes is all you are given but killing enemies will drop a time bonus.
Graphics and Sound
Visually, I don’t think I have ever played any other similar game. Backgrounds are organized in layers, adding some sort of immersion that is greatly appreciated. The color palette is based on a brown-grey arrange of tones, providing a stunning visual accomplishment. This color choice has a disadvantage tho; at first, having everything on the screen of the same color will bring some confusion, especially when the screen is filled with enemies and projectiles, but you’ll eventually get used to it.
The soundtrack is not remarkable, to be honest, but it’s decent. The music used in Boss Fights, on the other hand, is epic, and a nice addition, making the best experience out of these encounters. Shooting sound effects don’t have as much impact as I would like and could use some improvement, but overall, it works.
I can see hardcore fans of the genre pleased with this title due to its challenging difficulty and unique visual presentation. However, a general audience might consider the lack of depth and some other issues a good enough reason in order to skip it.