Atomas — Simple Chemistry [Review]
Atomas by Sirnic

Game Info:

  • Genre: Puzzle
  • Platform(s): Android / iOS
  • Developer: Sirnic / Max Gittel
  • Release Date: February 24, 2015
  • Tested In: Android

As you may have noticed on this blog, there aren’t a lot of posts concerning mobile games. There are some, but they’re not what tended to be massively popular at the moment (excluding the Clash Royale review). In this case, I was able to play one that I quite liked, which is certainly not Pokemon GO that has just been released and is taking the Internet by storm as of this writing. This is Atomas, which was released a year before but is still worth looking at.

Recently, I freed up space on my two-year-old Huawei Ascend G6, which certainly can’t run Pokemon GO, so I went to Google Play and looked at what puzzle games I could put in. One of them was Atomas and I took to it right away as it’s a puzzle game that can be played without much pressure (except in time attack).

NOTE: As this is intended as a full review of this title, there may be some spoilers. You’ve been warned.

Presentation

Atomas is basically circles on circles in an atom-like motif that fits the chemistry theme. Each element taken from the Periodic Table has been given a color, most of which I do agree with. For instance, I quite like how they made Oxygen green and Nitrogen blue. However, while Calcium indeed had to be white, they could’ve made the text more readable.

The dark brown for the background in Atomas’ color scheme strikes me as a little odd, but maybe they just wanted an earthy color that helps everything else stand out. The audio is good as well, with sound cues that reinforce the reward mechanism of the gameplay. As far as the audio-visual experience, this game ticks most of the boxes.

Gameplay

Atomas gameplay screenshot

The rules aren’t really like that of real atoms, so no need to be a chemistry major to play Atomas. It’s just a new take on matching puzzles, wherein you get to clear atoms with a plus atom and move them or turn into a proton with a minus atom.

Sometimes, you get a white atom that can be made into any atom you want by touching which one on the circle you want it to take form of. Then there’s the black atom that can make two atoms of any kind combine. You also have antimatter, which can be accessed on top of the screen, that can clear half of the circle to save you from a game over.

Antimatter can be acquired over time, but it can also be bought as a microtransaction. Then again, it’s not like the game is any fun when you have an endless supply of them anyway as the gist of it is being able to get yourself out of a bind by matching big combinations of atoms with one plus and getting to the next element.

Figuring out how to stay alive and keep a game going is much of Atomas‘ charm. Its science-inspired appearance may not seep that much into the gameplay, but it does take a good bit of sharpness to play well. As far as the Classic and Zen modes go, you can take your time in getting the achievements and going as far as you can, even past the periodic table.

The Time Attack mode is where I had some problems, but perhaps that’s only due to my old man thinking speed. You can’t play it like in Classic or Zen; you’ll have to rely on mostly color identification and just match whatever you can to pop with the pluses. It does take a good bit of practice to reach and get past Neon in this mode, but it’s possible somehow.

Geneva mode has its own challenge, wherein you get luxons instead of pluses. The luxon can turn an atom into a plus for one move. If you’re unable to make use of that plus, it turns back into the atom it was beforehand. This one change does make it feel like a different game, wherein matching similar atoms in odd numbers is the key instead of being undesired.

Atomas is like circular Tetris in that you’d be waiting for a plus or minus to come next, just like how you’d be begging for the I-block to pop up. Once the circle fills up, it’s game over and you’ll have to start again from scratch.

Final Score

Atomas
8 out of 10
Pros
  • Free to play with discrete microtransactions
  • Surprisingly addicting puzzle gameplay
  • Fun way to memorize the Periodic Table
  • Four different game modes
  • Mostly excellent use of colors
Cons
  • Difficult (and seemingly unfair) Time Attack mode
  • Brown background may not be a hit for some
Summary
Overall, it's a nice puzzle game to pass the time in a commute or a queue. While it's not as deep as it's science-y exterior makes it seem, it's still a fun mobile puzzle game that should be substantial enough for most people. Its mechanics may seem intimidating at first, but it's actually simple to learn and the tutorial should have you up to speed with the gameplay fairly quick.
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You may also look up my preferences in video games [here] for reference.



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