Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree is an adventure game populated with complex visual puzzles and rhythm-based combat. It's not a game that we've written about before, so regular readers will have first seen it when Apple made their Apple Arcade announcement late last month — It's among the titles launching alongside the subscription services later this year.
Set in a Norse-mythology inspired world, Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree is visually stunning. As you'll see in the trailer, it has some really lovely, cell-shaded art for the characters, but a kind of elongated pixel art for the world. These, together with the wide-viewpoint that the camera position gives, create a world that looks vast and wild at all times. If you then fill up that world with glowing, mystic runes and angular buildings you end up with that fantastic vibe that forms when a fantasy game has a science-fiction feel to it.
Atone follows the journey of Estra, who lives in a land which is now abandoned by the gods. The Elder Tree, of the title, is now endangered without the protection of those gods, which leaves Estra with the task of single-handedly protecting it. Alongside Estra's quest to reach the tree, players also uncover more about her family's past, something she knows little of due to her father being killed in an ambush twelve years earlier.
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Outside of what we have seen in the trailer there's not much in the way of clues as to how the puzzles of the game work. Most of them seem to be based around flow, or activating tiles in the correct order. There's also a choice-based element to the game's conversations which can lead to the fight sequences. During the fights inputs slide onto screen and you need to press them in time in order to fight your enemy. I'm quite impressed with the design in the rhythm components as not only is each fight individually scored but the angular shaping that runs throughout Atone is there too in the indicators of when to press buttons.
Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree isn't just in development for iOS, the team are also working on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac builds. Although we don't know when it will be releasing, Apple Arcade is said to be releasing in Fall and Atone is listed as a launch title.