Atlas Fallen is an action adventure game set on a desert world. It seeks to challenge people not only through fast paced combat, but also vertical gameplay. Traveling through the world takes players below ground and parkouring across ruined rooftops. Its story follows an Unnamed one chosen to wield a gauntlet that gives them control over the sands. This gives them the opportunity to fight back against the empire that uses their people to mine for a corrupt god.
While Atlas Fallen has an interesting world, it gets bogged down by its own gameplay loop. Just as the story gets going the pacing is constantly broken by searching for crystals for upgrading. The game gives no hints about where to look. Eventually, crystals are hidden by barriers and players must defeat enemies or complete timed totem events to unlock them or raise buildings from the sands to create a new path. These events can lead to platforming sections where players are sprinting and jumping high above the ground. Just restarting the event isn’t so simple. But you can’t progress the main story otherwise.
Hints about what can or can’t be climbed are given if you find the right NPC to talk to. Instead of any instructions to show that something new is being introduced. With most side quests being busy work rather than something that fleshes out the world or upgrades our character, it feels like a chore. An occasional quest that isn’t fun or beneficial but is necessary to continue, is an annoyance. When that’s most of a player’s time there may be less and less incentive to boot that game up.
What Atlas Fallen does well, it really nails. The transition from sprinting to surfing on the sands is nearly seamless. From there players can fluidly launch into combat on the ground and in the air. The enemies have an interesting look despite a lack of variety. The momentum system adds an extra level of challenge. It makes both player and enemies stronger. Enemies also get a boost in size as the player’s momentum grows.
What players get with Atlas Fallen is sci-fi action with a dash of mysticism. When it’s fun, you can forget the less than great parts. But not for long. It’s definitely a mixed bag, which makes Atlas Fallen its own greatest enemy. However, the set pieces are stunning and boss fights have just enough mechanics to remain engaging. If smashing mechanical beasts with a giant hammer or your fists while riding sand dunes like waves sounds exciting, maybe give this one a chance. Otherwise, Atlas Fallen doesn’t do much to make what unique features it does have stand out.