Built from the ground up and well hidden for three years, Trion gleefully unveiled the game today at the W in Seattle. Described as team tactics game with simultaneous turns, Atlas Reactor looks fresh and exciting. Set in the future with robot and cyborg characters and weapons, the lines were clean and crisp, the character animations stylized in best graphic novel style.
To demonstrate the game’s the Senior producer ran a 2v2 game with bots, playing Lockwood, a dual gun wielding cowboy type with a ricochet ability backing up a tank character, Asura(bot) against a Cannoneer character Zuki(bot) with a robot puppy as her tank.
The game is turn based with tells in game of where your team mate is going so you can coordinate. From her positioning, we could guess what her actions was going to be, and on the resolution phase, Puppy burst out of its cloak and hit Asura before she could attack, mitigating some of her damage.
Turns are effectively simultaneous with rock, paper, scissors type mechanics. In every turn, there are three phases of combat. First, there is Prep – where traps are laid and shields and thrown, there is Dash which is a reaction or dodge and on a long cool down, and finally the blast where attacks land, or not.
Characters are diverse in abilities as much as form, so there is no guessing what load out you took into the game. Atlas Reactor is a game of tactics as well as strategy and knowing your opponent or just second guessing them. There are resources that can be picked up during the game, or as Executive Producer Peter Ju called them, bait. Is your opponent low on health? Are you as well Is he going to go for the health boost or the power boost to finish you off? You can lay traps for him to trigger as he heads towards the resource points or lay in wait yourself.
In opposite of many RTS games, action/combat happens before movement. You can shoot before moving behind cover, and positioning is key as Peter reiterated many times. This was certainly seen as the game played out. Laying traps in the right place, using cover, watching the game for the tells. The Devs called it the “Decision Phase” The subtle lines and outlines that give you hints on what your team mates are doing, the faint red outline that tells you destruction from above is going to rain down on you.
The game will be played out on a timer. You only have so long to make your decision to move or to stay, so players will have to think on their feet. To help pacing, primary abilities have no cool down, but the dodge abilities do. Characters will have unique moves, some have free actions. Shields are temporary and have cool downs so one tactic would be to attack another opponent when one’s health is low and you can probably predict that he has popped his shield.
But just as we thought the game was won, Zuki respawned from her first death and we were caught right in the open with no Dash to use and her delayed bomb landed right on us. But we still had our turns to play out and with a just gathered damage boost, we ended in a double kill.
The largest map at this time will take a 5v5 team and customization is still under development, but they showed off the taunt ability, which is tagged onto another move and brings up a short cut scene and animation. Just a few seconds of “cool” to add to the flavor of the game as your character executes a (hopefully) game winning action.
With its clean lines and art direction Atlas Reactor looks fresh. The game play and character combat interaction is different enough that it will likely draw more than just RTS players to the game, but the combat is also strategic and well paced enough that the typical MOBA player might also enjoy dabbling in it.Related: Atlas Reactor, PAX Prime, PAX Prime 2015, Trion Worlds