When I first laid eyes on this game, it was only because the game I originally had to review shut down “for a while”. So you can imagine my skepticism towards a game that was neither an RPG, RTS, shooter or anything of the ilk. Just a platform game that seemed to be more for kids than for fully grown adults.
Fortunately, Atmosphir surpassed my expectations and proved to be more than a match for many other games out there, as you all shall see.
As I said before, unlike most free MMO games on the market, Atmosphir is a platformer. There are no level-caps to reach, no quests to do, no grinding, nothing. There are different levels you can play with different game modes. First there is the Solo mode. Basically, you get a level and a flag you need to reach in order to finish. You may get bonuses or even enemies on your way there. Based on the score at the end, the player is awarded “atmo-points”. The more you have, the higher you are placed in the top. The Co-op mode is much like Solo, but in order to finish a level you need help from fellow players.
For the ones of you who are more into PvP there is also a VS mode implemented in Atmosphir. Although it is limited to the now classic deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag, and only three weapons (sword, canon and laser), it can be quite fun.
Considering Atmosphir is a browser-based game, the graphics are certainly above average. What’s more, it has a cartoonish flavor about it that fits hand in glove with the gameplay. Though simple, the controls do their job just fine: WASD for moving, SPACE for jumping, the mouse for firing and aiming. Customization is another aspect that is well done in the game. Besides choosing between boy and girl, there are a lot of faces, clothes, hair styles and even skin colors to choose from, some for free, others for money. If only the music and sound effects were as diverse, everything would have been perfect.
Sadly, there is a cost for the overall quality of the game… and I don’t mean money (we’ll talk about that later). Even at the lowest graphic details, the lag is sometimes impossible, not to mention that the game itself and also the maps take forever to load. When playing single, this is not such a problem and can be dealt with… somewhat. But it makes playing multiplayer impossible at times.
Free as it is, Atmosphir has to be financed somehow. Here is where your bank account comes in. Unlike other games, where in order to be top-dog you had to buy certain items with real money, here all that money can buy is clothes and different styles of weapons, which have no major impact on gameplay, apart from making you stand out. The developers also thought about those who don’t like item shops and made a subscription available. For a small monthly fee, you get an allowance in coins, an exclusive armor set and an exclusive gift from time to time.
For those of you who think I’m done… you’re wrong. I saved the best for last. As I mentioned before, you play levels. But apart from the tutorials and few others, all of them are created by fellow players. Basically, the game client gives you all the means to create a map of your own. Everything can be changed. From the size of it to the type of game it is suitable for. At first, everything seems complicated. But after a couple of tries you will feel at home. On the forums you will find lots of videos and tutorials that help you become an expert designer. Like the players, every map gets a score based on the players vote. Furthermore, each one has a comments section, where anyone may express his/her opinion, so you know what you did wrong. Keep trying and someday, one of your maps may get the “level of the day” title. The designing part is so complex, that it becomes a game itself and there are people dedicated exclusively to this.
Though I was skeptic at first, Atmosphir proved to be a great game. Using a simple idea, a direct approach and quality design, it manages to stand out of the crowd of classic free online games. It doesn’t require a lot of time or a state of the art computer. It can be played in your browser during a coffee break. And if you don’t like what you find, you can create something that matches your taste anytime, using the design mode. Of course, the game is not perfect, but the developers seem to be working hard (there’s a feedback section on the left of the homepage). It needs a lot of optimization of the loading times and especially the lag, but considering it’s still in beta, Atmosphir has the potential to truly become a quality game.
by Sicaru Adrian