Jointly published by CrayonPixel and Zynga, Atlas Raider is a social board game spiced up by treasure hunt adventures, playable both on Facebook and the official website of Zynga. Vivid cartoon characters, multiple collectible comic books and simple dice rolling mechanics will give you great fun during your first hour or so with it, but when obtrusive micro transactions and recycled gameplay creep in frustratingly, your interest is sure to evaporate quickly.
Board games are not new to the vast community of online games, some coming along with actions, some with strategic building, and some with other casual themes. You must know what I mean if you have ever played games like Hunted Hollow, Age of Empires 2 HD and War Chess. However Atlas Raiders amazingly manages to crowd them all into one package while making sure to deliver pure dice-rolling fun. You discover skulls, hunt for treasures, collect comic books and fight beasts and villains all along the way.
“Out of all the things in the world of Atlas Raider, why do I have to collect skulls?” you may ask. The game explains with the following story. You father has gone missing on an treasure hunt expedition, and only after finishing the task assigned by “The Foundation”, namely finding 13 crystal skulls, will you have the hope to locate your missing father. The premise seemed rather dull to me at the beginning, but I did have a few moments’ fun due to the simple gameplay before the game veered into a repetitive groove.
If you have ever played games like Hunted Hollow, Vegas Showdown and New England, the basic gamepaly of Atlas Raider will sound instantly familiar to you. It is all about choices of squares to cover. Unlike Hunted Hollow which makes you choose among several available spots (automatically marked) for each move, Atlas Raider asks you to roll a dice before you can see which spaces are open to you. Click on the dice hovering over your head, it will spin by itself and stop at a number. This number indicates the maximum number of squares you can go. For example, if your dice stops at 6, you can go as far as 6 squares, and if there are some already discovered in previous rounds within these 6 squares, you can choose to stop there as you like. Others in between are locked, as you can imagine. Each step takes one energy and rewards you with a certain amount of experience points, gold coins and sometimes special items. When your XP bar is full, you upscale to a new level, unlocking new territories to explore, giving you some energy and a few pixels.
However, your journey on the board is not as easy as it sounds. It is destined to be interrupted by unexpected occurrences, be it a nasty rabbit, a dangerous lizard or a naughty monkey. Strangely, there is not an open area where you and your opponent fight head-to-head. You just choose your weapon and afterwards, your fate will ridiculously depends on dice rolling. There is always one free weapon, but what really exasperate me is without paying some in-game currencies, namely gold coins and pixels, to get better ones, I never seemed to have good luck with the dices. And once you lose the battle, you lose one hard-to-earn energy too. When you run out of energy, you have to choose between being transfixed to a spot waiting for the energy to refill by itself and buying some energy to get out of the dilemma. You won’t like the trade-off, because energy comes at an astonishingly high price. Two energy refills cost 4 pixels which equal the rewards you get for gaining two levels, which, by the way, takes an incredible long time if you are not willing to drop a few dollars. You know how can you get 1000 pixels? “Not much”, 100 US dollars, and the game advertises the transaction as best value!
Another nagging question is even if you have found a treasure chest, without a fixed amount of items/tools, you cannot open it! If you are not willing to circle the board once and again like an idiot, you have to pay a good sum. This sets me wondering why there should be treasure hunting at all if the money-sinking payments are to take away all the joy that is supposed out it anyway.
Atlas Raider is really rich in content, packaging adventure, dice rolling and farming all into one title, but as I delve deeper into the game, I find its payments exasperatingly nagging and repetitive gameplay growing extremely boring. It could have deliver a much better playing experience with more free content and a little more variety.
Facebook App Link: https://apps.facebook.com/atlasraider