Atlas Reactor nails the artwork of the mash-up: What if XCOM met DOTA?

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Trion’s fascinating new aggressive title is a curious and enjoyable beast.


It doesn’t occur that always, however some instances an project crops up that’s a real out of left-field factor. Atlas Reactor is one such occasion of this: I signed as much as cowl it with out actually understanding what it was. There’s one thing refreshing about that; it’s pure. I haven’t seen it at eight completely different commerce reveals and I can simply sit down and play it.

Here’s the principle factor it’s essential learn about Atlas Reactor; It’s a turn-based technique sport with a aggressive multiplayer twist. Think the rebooted XCOM, which I really like, however as a multiplayer-focused sport.

There’s the XCOM affect with checkerboard-based motion and technique ways, however that’s then mixed with a League of Legends, DOTA or Overwatch-style deal with a solid of very distinct heroes, all of which slot into very acquainted classes of DPS, Tanks and Support.

“Atlas Reactor is almost entirely about planning, decision making and predicting what your opponent does. A comparison to chess would be fairly appropriate.”

All the trimmings you’d anticipate of a sport like this include character choice – there’s skins, taunts and the like, but in addition a wide range of talents and mods that may be stacked up into a selected load-out. This smacks of a MOBA, however all takes place earlier than you even hit a match moderately than happening mid-match.

When a match kicks off, every participant picks a freelancer (this sport’s time period for his or her heroes) of their very own and gamers then enter right into a team-based match of as much as six gamers per aspect. Once you’re within the match, issues play out in an XCOM-style style, with gamers shifting throughout the grid-based map with a purpose to achieve superior positions and take the enemy out.


There are a few twists alongside the way in which. The first is clear; you solely management one character, which lets you focus. The second is how turns play out, with each flip cut up into a number of phases and characters shifting concurrently and firing on one another in the identical occasion. One of the slogans of the sport is ‘it’s at all times your flip’, one thing which makes the fight transfer at fairly a clip. My first few instances I discovered every thing to be complicated as hell, however after just a few matches it clicked.

The factor that makes it complicated is the velocity at which every thing occurs, however that’s additionally very important: that is how they make a turn-based sport as exhilarating within the moment-to-moment PVP fight as a full-on action-driven MOBA. It works, too – when issues begin to actually pop off in Atlas Reactor, it’s very cool-looking and satisfying.

It’s nearly like inserting a wager – you select your actions after which as soon as others have carried out the identical the sport crunches the numbers and locations the end result. Rather than being primarily based in your capacity to have a sure variety of actions per minute or having spectacular micro expertise, Atlas Reactor is sort of fully about planning, determination making and predicting what your opponent does. A comparability to chess could be pretty acceptable.

Abilities are cut up into completely different classes primarily based on their velocity. Things like buffs happen within the inexperienced section, whereas dashes and different movement-based talents come within the yellow section. The closing section, purple, includes assaults. The apparent instance of how this technique pans out is in how significant you can also make strikes comparable to dashing out of the way in which when you suppose an opponent is readying a very devastating assault. Given the flexibility for there to be as much as twelve characters in a match and on common often eight, there’s various scope for depth right here.

Despite the XCOM comparisons (and it actually does seem like it, particularly within the motion UI) one factor that I ought to clarify isn’t within the sport is the dice-rolls and RNG that decide hits and misses. Being aggressive, Atlas Reactor is about positioning and planning moderately than luck.

What’s maybe most satisfying is that the sport simply feels snappy to play. It was initially complicated, however in a fairly brief time frame I started to really feel the alternative – slowly, I used to be satisfied of my very own tactical genius. In this the sport nails that feeling that Overwatch has been so good at imparting to gamers – that regardless of your talent stage you’re making a contribution and having a constructive impression on a match.

More fascinating nonetheless is that when I acquired my head across the phase-based nature of its turns I shortly realized Atlas Reactor might be one thing that’d be moderately fascinating to look at. I’m unsure how onerous Trion intend to chase an eSports angle with this sport, however that might work out.

“The game nails that feeling that Overwatch has been so good at imparting to players – that no matter your skill level you’re making a contribution and having a positive impact on a match.”

I’m an enormous fan of XCOM, so to see this explicit model of turn-based fight get efficiently twisted right into a format that’ll work with different gamers is an thrilling factor certainly, and it’s change into a sport I plan to maintain my eye on and observe the way it grows.

On the subject of progress, launch format is an space of Atlas Reactor price discussing. After a prolonged beta the sport is out now in a free-to-play format. This’ll work in an analogous method to League of Legends or Killer Instinct, the place sure characters will likely be made free-to-play and can rotate regularly. If you need a particular character ceaselessly, you’ll be able to cough up and purchase them. Unlike these different video games, nonetheless, you’ll be able to’t purchase them individually – it’s all or nothing.

Despite calling it free to play, or free to start out, or no matter, let’s be clear; Atlas Reactor’s free possibility is extra a demo than the rest. Ranked and customized matches are additionally locked behind the $30/£23 model, making the free providing actually only a solution to become familiar with the sport and little else. There’s additionally a way more costly model that additionally features a bunch of skins and different bonuses.

Even so, that free model makes a compelling argument with its fascinating fight, a singular tackle how turn-based battles can nonetheless work in an internet aggressive format.

If you’re but to provide Atlas Reactor a strive, it is perhaps price dropping that free model into your Steam download queue – its fight would possibly seize you because it did me.