Atom evokes memories of classic CRPGs and it's brilliant [Android Game of the Week]

ATOM RPG (Image credit: Jordan Palmer / Android Central)

Nostalgia is a powerful, and sometimes dangerous, drug that we've dabbled with a few times here in the Android Game of the Week series. When approached correctly, it's always nice to relive some memories from childhood or otherwise younger years.

It's no secret that I've been gaming for most of my life, and I've played countless games throughout the years. Some of my favorites go way back to the classic CRPGs of the 90s and 00s, like Fallout, BioWare's stuff, and the like. So when I was browsing through the Play Store earlier last week for something to write about today, I stumbled across a game I put in my wishlist so long ago that I'd forgotten about it. It's called Atom, a mobile port of a CRPG over on PC, and I don't know why I didn't buy this sooner.

It's been a while since I played a game that reminded me so much of the RPGs of my youth. I believe the last one I tried, and failed to finish, was Divinity Original Sin (I never played the sequel) and before that... I can't remember the last retro-style RPG I played. Playing Atom was like a trip down memory lane, making me wish for mobile ports of classics like Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics and Wasteland — at least we have Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, and Icewind Dale playable on a Android.

Comparisons to games that have come before are unavoidable, but I think Atom stands on its own quite well. I'd say it's closest to Fallout 2, both in setting and gameplay, with turn-based combat, witty writing, plenty of customization, lots of post-apocalyptic Soviet places to see, and interesting NPCs.

Atom has a lot of depth and a very long runtime. My free time, such as it is, has mostly been devoted to Cyberpunk 2077 on my PC, but I'm just shy of ten hours into Atom. Some of that included character customization and just getting used to the game itself. It's a slow start with a plodding pace, so don't expect non-stop action. The game wants to tell a story and offer a rich experience and it's in no rush to do so. That won't be to everyone's liking, but I sure love what I've seen so far.

Despite a promised 60+ hours of gameplay, there's incentive to play again thanks to build diversity. Each stat means something and can affect how you play, sometimes in significant ways. Beyond that, there are skills to invest in and dialogue options to choose from to really shape your character how you want them. In my opinion, Atom really nails the CRPG experience in this aspect.

Atom is best compared to Fallout 2 in both setting and gameplay.

I might do a full review of Atom at some point just to give this game more justice than I can grant in this article. It's an expansive experience and well worth the time. Some Play Store reviews mention less than ideal mobile optimization, so I can only speak to my experience. On my Pixel 4 XL, the game ran smoothly with no issues, at least not yet, and I've been fine with the controls and menus.

The RPG landscape on Android is getting better and better and I couldn't be happier. Atom may not be a new game — there's already a sequel in Early Access on Steam — but I think it deserves more attention than it has. That's it, though, so why not take a gander at our list of the best Android games? Or maybe our previous Games of the Week? Regardless, have a merry Christmas!

Jordan Palmer