Underwater shenanigans

Title: Earth Atlantis
Platform: PC, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Pixel Perfex
Publisher: Headup Games
Release date: Out Now
tl;dr: Imagine if Gradius was designed as an underwater Metroidvania
Price: Switch: $15/£15
PS4/Xbox One: £12/15$
PC: Currently in Steam Greenlight
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

Earth Atlantis does not have a story, per se. Unlike other, similar titles, where devs try to create a universe and story, the guys behind this one didn’t make one at all; the concept behind the game is to bring out the spirit of navigating the 14th century’s ocean, which is a very dangerous place full of monsters and other evil beings. Players, as an unnamed navigator, must hunt down 41 dreadful undersea creatures, all the while exploring a post-apocalyptic underwater setting.

Earth Atlantis is an interesting twist on the shoot’em up genre, as it mixes a bit of a Metroidvania flavor in the level design. Players are thrown underwater as they navigate and hunt down Targets (i.e. bosses), and obviously, you’ll be surrounded by enemies. Players start with a standard ship, which can fire forwards and backwards, depending on the power ups you pick up, which are rewarded from enemy drops and hidden boxes, giving players an edge in overcoming the endless waves of (respawning) enemies.

As mentioned above, the game features a Metroidvania-esque level design, where players drive around underwater, uncovering new areas and Targets to take out. The deeper you go, the more difficult the enemies get; where it becomes vital to mix and match a variety of power ups. Players can pick up up to two power ups at a time that spawn after killing enemies. As players progress through the game, they’ll be able to unlock a handful of new submarines to try out, with each having their own abilities.

The game has an interesting visual aesthetic. The elements in the game, down to the enemies and environment, are all drawn with black lines, and they have the same beige background palette. While reading, this might sound weird and visually cumbersome, but does work, as you can see in the screenshots, and makes the game stand out, since it’s the complete opposite of what we’re used to with flashy décors and bright colours. On the sound side of things, despite the hectic action on screen, the game features a smooth relaxing score to counter the antics. During boss battles, the score amps up the tempo to keep up with the shenanigans. Overall, the presentation is interesting and unique.

While the game features an interesting visual aspect, and it’s also a nice change of pace of the traditional shoot em up in space, it’s kind of hard to recommend Earth Atlantis when there are so many other and better alternatives. While the 14th century underwater concept and unique visuals are quite appealing and make for a unique experience, navigation can get frustrating as it’s not always simple figuring out where to go next. Depending on your attention span, you might get bored rather quickly. Proceed at your own risk!

The Good

  • Interesting and unique presentation
  • Classic and approachable shmup formula

The Bad

  • Confusing navigation
  • Light on content

Family Focus

Earth Atlantis is rated E for Everyone and PEGI7 due to the presence of mild fantasy violence

This review is based on a review code provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.