Atone is a striking, Norse-inspired game from down under. The debut title of New Zealand developer Wildboy Studios, the project blends eye-catching art with a medley of gameplay styles. The result looks to be an intriguing spin on classic mythology.
Billed as a story-driven puzzle game, Atone tells the story of Estra, a warrior and the daughter of one of humanity’s greatest leaders. She seeks the truth behind her father’s death while being haunted by visions of events both past and present. Meanwhile, Midgard has fallen into disarray after being shunned by the gods of Asgard. Their absence opened the door for a malevolent force to corrupt the world from within, including a mystical Elder Tree the gods once protected.
The art direction draws inspiration from works such as those from Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of popular cartoons such as Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars. The landscapes of Monument Valley are stated as another influence. Wildboy states every piece of art in Atone is individually rendered, with no repeating assets.
Gameplay consists of choice-driven conversations that result in varying consequences. Puzzles play a large role as well. Though some riddles require trial and error to decipher, others only offer just one chance to solve. Failure to unravel certain puzzles means losing out on learning vital information.
The surprising combat design takes cues from the rhythm/music genre. Executing attacks involves hitting button prompts at the right time as they scroll across the screen. Think Dance Dance Revolution or, for niche music fans, Gitaroo Man. Music plays a key role in Atone, with each fight featuring its own, unique music track. The soundtrack comes courtesy of Australian composer James Schur aka Luminist.
Wildboy Studios plans to release Atone sometime in 2019. It will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux. The game has already received early acclaim, picking up a silver medal for the 2017 New Zealand Best Award for Design. Check out the game’s website and announcement trailer, then tell us what you think in the comments.
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