Game Reviews

Atom

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Atom
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Nuclear energy can be created in two ways: fission and fusion. As the terms imply, fission relates the process in which atoms are broken apart to release gads of energy. It's a refined process that's been around for half a century and is employed in modern day nuclear reactors. Harvesting energy from a fusion reaction requires melding two atoms together and gathering the excess. It's infinitely more difficult, yet safer and reaps more energy than fission.

Games play in exactly the same way. Either they explode in a fission of some particularly clever mechanic or they're a sophisticated fusion of design. Atom unleashes about enough energy to light a flash in the pan, its tilt controls the only catalyst for this underwhelming reaction.

Atom gives you control over a small green particle in an effort to capture as much energy as possible. Using the touchscreen and accelerometer to guide the atom, your goal is to collect energy power-ups to prevent your energy gauge at the top of the screen from running down. Touching the screen draws the atom to orbit that spot, while tilting the device uses gravity to move the particle in the corresponding direction. Combining use of both is the most effective means of navigating the sub-atomic space.

The controls works well and the unpredictable path of the atom ensures plenty of challenge. Seizing the circular energy power-ups that randomly appear proves difficult since your atom zips about at a hasty clip. Getting it to behave is tricky and that's exactly where the game derives its entertainment. Beyond this, there's absolutely nothing to it.

Much of what's wrong with Atom involves its stunning lack of features. First, there's no main menu. Not having an options menu is pretty bad, but failing to provide a main menu or at least a splash screen is inexcusable. Without any menus, all of your scores remain untracked; in other words, there's no high-score board. You can't even pause the game. It doesn't take a doctoral degree in quantum physics to understand the need for these simple features.

It isn't just features that are lacking, unfortunately. Atom fails to build on its concept with the bare minimum variety in power-ups. Joining energy pick-ups critical to your atom's survival are gravity and size modifiers. These increase or decrease the force of gravity and the size of your atom, which have an noticeable yet non-critical impact. Your inclination is to avoid them whenever they appear, although its hardly a game changer when your atom shrinks or the gravity intensifies.

This all plays out on the same static backdrop – no levels, no bonus backgrounds, nothing. Between the drastic lack of features and painfully straightforward design, Atom only fuses together disappointment and a waste of money.

Atom

A silly lack of features and pitifully basic gameplay fuse into the waste of cash that is Atom
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