Earth Atlantis is a side-scrolling bullet-hell shooter from Pixel Perfex and Headup Games, originally released on the Nintendo Switch late last year, it’s finally coming to Xbox One.
It’s late in the 21st century, the climate isn’t changing it’s completely shifted and now 96% of the Earth is submerged under water. The rise of the machines continued and void of any human interference, machines took on the form of marine-life to better survive the harsh waters.Played on a 2D plane with delightful hand-drawn graphics, you’ll take control of ‘The Hunter’ on a mission to take down the biggest and baddest bosses Earth Atlantis has.
From the start you’re spawned by the starting point with the task of picking up where the fallen hunters have failed. You’ll begin with two targets marked on the map by a small X, and you’ll have to navigate through the seas, find and destroy both targets and the next two will appear.
It’s a little more complicated than that, as you’re constantly being barraged with attacks from small vessels and while they don’t do much damage, you’ll want to take these down to build up your own power. Each ship has its own maximum power, shown on the ship select screen, so you’ll want to be close to this before you take on your first ‘boss’ target.
The bosses are usually giant marine life such as my favorite octopus, small vessels will continue to charge you and a variety of incoming firepower will leave you constantly juggling between avoid or attack, while attack sequences are pretty repetitive, it’s still quite challenging as often only one or two direct hits will destroy your ship and end the game.
While re-building your power-up’s to challenge the next boss can feel a little tedious it won’t be long before you’re searching out your new rival and thankfully once a boss is destroyed, he stays that way, so there’s a very welcome constant progression.
With 41 target’s in total, there’s quite a chunk of game to get through, though as you unlock new ships and maintain maximum power you’ll often wipe-out a few bosses in quick succession. This means the longevity does leave a few questions, but there’s also Hunter mode which you can unlock which tasks you with taking down 29 targets as quickly as possible. With records to look back on, there’s always the choice of heading back to try to beat your highest score, but without online or friends leaderboards it does lose some out on replay value.
Graphically it’s a very unique hand-drawn style which works well, there’s not much colour as everything carries quite a plain sepia colour tone, but worlds are detailed and there’s some iconic backgrounds to look out for such as the cracked and broken statue of liberty.
Most of your play-though will be accompanied by a subtly dramatic soundtrack that suits the game well, it falls into the standard category of never being distracting, but also failing to be memorable.
There’s plenty of bangs and bumps and fully powered weapons carry power even if they don’t sound capable of ripping your enemies to shreds in seconds, but maybe that’s because underwater, nobody can hear you scream.
Earth Atlantis is a compelling game which gives plenty of reason to play through, but I just couldn’t see the appeal of playing through again and with the continued progression of stay-dead bosses, or the tedious task of refilling power-ups every time you die, there’s certainly limited value, which might have remained in higher esteem on a portable console.