Atomicrops - plow, plant, and pow on a farm

Atomicrops is a slightly quirky rogue like where you inherit a modest farm. You balance planting and nurturing seeds during the day with fending off waves of monsters that attack during the night. 3 days makes a season, 4 seasons a year, and I don’t know what happens after that because I haven’t gotten to the end of Year 1 yet. At the end of each night you return to town where harvested crops turn into filthy lucre and you spend said lucre on upgrades so you can keep planting and harvesting and murdering.

It’s quite good although I feel like it might get too hectic for my tastes. There’s a bullet hell element that isn’t that bad in year 1 but I can see where it would ramp up. But planting crops is often something you don’t have a lot of time to do (fortunately you can plant at night; daylight is not a requirement). I keep accidentally uprooting turrets which drives me crazy.

But it’s very fun. The exploration is crucial, as you’ll pick up many in-run rewards that help you along. Literally. In addition to things that power up your stats or give you new abilties, you can nab helpers which keep the farm huming while you are exploring and killing. Or precious scrolls which can do things like dig up ground for future tilling/planting, or plant seeds un unoccupied dirt, or water everything, or provide fertilizer for everything. So0me plants are 1x1 but others are 2x2 (and these potentially yield many harvests over time). Some plantables aren’t even plants (see: turrets).

You start with a 3x3 plot and one of the resources in the game is pickaxes, which allow you to render a square ready for use. In addition to the money there’s also roses, which you can uses to get more powerups from certain folks in town. Cornucopias are the persistent unlock currency (or all I have seen so far anyway). And a weird fleshy pod thing I have only ever seen one use for (I had an option of using them or spending a precious heart - your hp - at a weird alter in a field for a bonus).

The actual farming is simplified; LT does almost everything (it will: dig a square if you have a pickaxe/work the dirt until it’s ready to have soemthing planted, plant whatever the active thing is). Everything needs water but the well is nearby and you water automatically while movbing around doing other things (the range on the watergun is something else, too). LT needs to be held down and you can move (and shoot!) while doing it. This is the part I worry will undo me in the end though. Trying to aim for a specific square with your last pickaxe is a bit troublesome, and like I said I keep uprooting turrets by accident.

Things I’m unsure of:

  1. What are the fleshy pod things for.

  2. Is the ant hill the only persistent upgrade mechanic?

  3. Why didn’t I realize, on my best run, that flight would make the need for repairing bridges irrelevant until late in the run?

Not all powerups get along. I acquired one that was supposed to hoe soil when I ran on it, but wouldn’t you know it I had flight so no running. I like this aspect, as well as the helpers.

But I really like it so far. It’s charming and pretty interesting.

Oh man, I’ve been talking at length about this in the action roguelite thread! I feel a bit daft for not starting a thread myself but there didn’t appear to be much traction.

A few quotes pulled together for posterity outlining my journey so far. From back in June when it hit v1.0 on Epic:

A few weeks ago, just before the Steam launch and update:

Nine days ago:

Here are some basic tips I wrote for TurinTur but I’d avoid them if you’re wanting to maintain the element of discovery.

I wrote this earlier today:

And about 30 minutes ago!

Yeah, these two things are by far my biggest and most persistent bugbears with the game. I try to use the pickaxes before night just so I don’t use them in silly places while I’m trying to dodge bullets (I’ve given the devs some feedback on this). Scarecrows behave similarly to turrets as well. Worse: if you accidentally uproot them and leave them on the floor as you get airlifted out, you lose them! No idea why they just don’t go straight back into your inventory.

  1. Hmm, not sure what you mean here.
  2. There’s at least one more.
  3. I’ve only had wings once and it took me a moment to work out what they were for!

Oh wow, that’s cool and unfortunate!

It was fertilizer. I finally figured it out.

I did not like the Year 1 boss. I finally figured out the thing, but it was well into the fight and I spent the last 20-25% at 1 heart but managed to beat it. Yikes.

A part of me is sad there’s no actual farm building/longer runs (although given how hectic the combat can get that wouldn’t work). But I really like the synergies I see so far. I found a new animal (humming bird, although it was right before the end of winter so it didn’t get to do much work). I got a great item that spawned little root dudes who run around shooting when I harvest. I had 2 or 3 other on-harvest effects and it helped get me through that fight. Also, I had two gourds and something that slowed down bullets. I am definitely on team gourd.

Can you marry more than one person? I got my marriage late in that run as well so I didn’t really get to gauge the effectiveness of the buddy.

I had done a couple of uncloks on the ant hill but used the proceeds to nab like 3 things. I like how some of the progression upgrades are based on how well you do on the previous run (see: +1 farm animal if you make it to winter, and 1 bonus seed per season reached). Not sure what luck does yet, but it was the only purely passive upgrade I got IIRC.

The run I blew (with t he wings) I had a farm animal empire. 3 or 4 cows, 4 pigs, 3 chickens, like 5 bees. After that I had a run where I had trouble getting enough seeds planted (couldn’t get enough picks, no quake scrolls) and fell behind. My winning run came after that, and I got the thing that gives a tree seed every day and that helped power me big time.

Ah, yes! I thought about that after I came off my computer. I’ve only encountered the fertiliser monster a few times.

I’m curious to know what you’ll make of year 2. That was when I put the game aside for a while. When I came back I was hooked again and I’ve been chipping away at the years since.

Oh wow, you ventured further out than me in year 1! It took me years to get out that far! :-)

The root dudes are great when you’re doing a lot of harvesting mid-combat. You can unleash an army if you time it just right–great against bosses.

You can, yes, but you need a specific item. Getting hitched early is tough and I’ve still not managed polygamy!

Dude, I only just unlocked that ant colony at, like, year 8 or something! I was swimming in cornucopias at that point. Did you find it in the tundra second area? It was one of the last places I visited.

Yes, that’s a great item if you can create the space! It’s quite amazing how different strategies emerge as you find different items. One of my favourite combos so far has been ‘lard’ which slows bullets + ‘psychoactive weeds’ which slow bullets on cutting weeds + another item that cuts weeds on kill. You basically start weeding or killing enemies and all projectiles stop. Bullet hell becomes bullet time and it’s brilliant.

Wow the art is such a better fit here than it was in Nidhogg 2. Beautiful.

I think my winning run was maybe run 6 or 7. Maybe more though. But it toom me 4-5 runs to even venture into the “tier 2” fields. I mostly did it on a lark, I wanted to see what it was like so I saved up cashews. And yes, I just happened to wind up in the one with the ant hill on my first go at it. Dumb luck!

I have gotten it a fe3w times now but never pulled it off. I did manage a mid summer marriage, but I blew the run (it was going soooooo good too). This was another year 1.

I had another run I blew where I got weeding on running over them. And I combined it with psycho weeds, the one that does damage when you weed, and something else. It was a sight to behold. I screwed up in mid winter though, can’t remember how.

So I’ve done a couple of year 2 runs. That, and my forays into the tier 2 fields, clearly show how the game will ramp up. I wanted to get a little more comfortable with the game so I went back to year 1, but I think I’ll be going back to 2 this weekend.

I noticed that there are basically all ?new animals? in the tier 2 fields. I’ve now seen a turkey, and a “hog” which probably digs better than the pig I assume. I think if given the choice I would grab a cow at every opportunity early because watering takes too much time and I find even one cow gets a ton done while out adventuring.

I had a nice synergy going on my last run. Watering shields me and also watering was zapping stuff. And then I ran into the Fall boss - he’s my nemesis - and I forgot the time and had a mediocre weapon. The SMG, but I hadn’t upgraded it much (it’s pretty good upgraded but the short range means you gotta be super nimble and I’m not :D ). I bet he’s killed me the most.

I have unlocked several characters now but I’m sticking with the starter. if I make it to fall I usually head out into the farther fields, there’s obviously a lot of interesting stuff out there.

I’m quite taken with the game.

Haha, yeah definitely. It was pretty divisive in Nidhogg 2 but I loved it there as well. Toby Dixon is an amazing artist.

Yeah, if you fall short on cashews or roses at the wrong time it can really hobble you. There’s a lovely risk/reward element to the daytime exploration vs. getting back to your plot early. That’s why having cows and pigs helps because they can be doing stuff while you’re away. That takes a lot of pressure off.

Some of the weed stuff is really fun to experiment with. The weed tractor with razor weeds basically turns it into a killing machine. It’s amazing. I just had the weed tractor and vinaigrette (harvestable weeds!) in spring and was rolling in cashews without having to worry too much about my main crops.

Yeah, watering is time consuming so it’s worth getting cows and saving your pigeon storms for the right moments. There are a few other very cool items for watering but I’ll not spoil them in case you’ve not discovered them yet.

Yes, this is a great one and I think the zaps may even trigger when your cows are watering as you’re exploring!

Ouch, yeah I can imagine. A whole run can unravel if you mess up like that. I just took my first crack at year 10 and my mistake? I forgot to buy bridge parts during winter so I was stranded for a whole day with no secondary areas to raid, no roses and in dire need of heart beets. That was pretty miserable! Somehow I managed to beat the Bundertaker and get Corpse-o-copia down to 1/3 health before dying but that lost momentum really cost me.

I’m starting to think that if you’re going for a weeding strategy run, then you need to make sure you don’t overweed and end up with too few later on!

I think Lavender is my favourite followed by Thyme. I like the idea of Rye but I’ve found his ability rarely triggers. I risked him for my first year 10 run and I ended up with only two repairs after 12 days!

My EYES!!!

The other thing was “you can harvest weeds”. They aren’t worth much but when you go plowing through a whole bunch it’s not irrelevant (and I got the run and weed + weed harvest early). Also, I was getting nice seed income from it.

I screwed up my current run slightly by not getting an early bridge part. I think it’s ideal to have 2 by the end of spring (and possibly have used one, depends on how well it’s going). I try to always nab at least one weapon upgrade because killing really does eat up time.

Another win, I am ready for year 2. As I will ever be. I ma sure there’s an optimal day 1 strategy. Right now I usually h ead for a field and hope for the best. I try to get back with time to spare and plant late in the day.

The back half of summer and day 1 of winter didn’t go well. I couldn’t pkant enough (I did have 3 trees). I had a massive plot. But I was lucky to have 8 additional plants going. I should have purchased seeds in town but never did. then I scored one of the “plant a seed in every square” scrolls. It took 4 cows, and me with 3 water streams, most of a day (I didn’t adventure on day 2) to get everything watered. And I still didn’t manage to cap the mayor reward. But I had a zillion cashews and luck was with me; ran minigun with 3 upgrades for winter boss and year end boss (not that it matters much there; especially when you have zap water and seedlings).

Also, I did not realize Hogs will attack things. I had 2 or 3 (I opened several of the secondary fields) and they were doing serious work. I barely had anything to do during the year boss fight.

I do think this game could use some boss variety, so you don’t always know what’s coming (I would prefer that in the form of additional possible bosses, not mixing up order).

Seems I was wrong on the wings/destroy weeds when stepping on them interaction before. Huh, thought I tested it. But they worked together in my just ended Year 2 game. Which ended unfortunately.

This is the second time this has happened, but I was in the west secondary field and it was like focus on the game shifted to another window and I couldn’t move anymore. Got destroyed before I could get it fixed (5 hearts to none). Aggravating, the run was going really well.

As for Year 2, I’ve now done maybe 4 runs? I can already see speed increases in the killer tomatoes and faster bullets from the snipers. Honestly, I cannot imagine what that will look like in a much later year, but it feels like it will be too much for me to handle.

Yeah a weapon without upgrades can be rough. I know the eastern and western secondary areas are 2 bridge parts while the north and south are 3 so the weapons available at the market and how much money I have for upgrades determines which area I go to. The jungle and plains areas have a lot of small enemies so I like to have good spread/homing/AoE/DoT kinds of weapons, otherwise I stick to desert or tundra. You really have to make sure you have the firepower though, either from stats or weapons and upgrades because you can get wrecked otherwise.

Whoa! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that! Amazing.

I find that, in the absence of lots of sowing, growing and fertilising, you have to use a sunflower to reach that! 2x2 sunflowers are crazy if you can save them up. Yeah, the cattling gun is a beast with a few upgrades!

You know, come to think of it, I may not have got a hog before!

Yeah, that sounds like a nice way of mixing it up.

That’s a big bummer about the game losing focus. I’m guessing it’s only done it with Atomicrops?

This was me too. Even in my chronicled quotes above, you can see me calling bullshit on some things then… beating them. It’s weird. I was amazed I did year 1 and was like ‘I wonder what year I’ll brick wall at?’. Year 2 felt like that, then 3 for a long time. This is where a lot of the strategy and spotting synergies goes a long way. I think the biggest mental hurdle is the initial difficulty bump and shock with each new year. When I crack year 10 I’m going straight back to year 1 to feel the difference. Humble beginnings!!

Yes. It just happened again when I tried to play too. It’s very odd. It seems like the game is trying to switch between keyboard/controller (and bavk again, maybe rapidly) and then the mouse cursor winds up outside of the window. I am going to switch from Borderless to see if that helps. I was thinking maybe the game did not like Alt-tabbing but I didn’t alt tab ever that time.

I think my controller just died. I’ll chalk it up to that.

So I made it my mission to do year 10 on Saturday. My first run earlier in the week with Rye was my best by virtue that I had some seeds, fertiliser, animals and items carried over in the time capsule from my successful year 9 run so that gave me an early game boost. Unfortunately I died on the last boss, getting it down to a third health.

Thankfully, that was a solid run so, again, I had some resources carried over in the time capsule. This time I went with Lavender to get some serious crop growing going but I didn’t last long, effectively squandering the time capsule boost. I was back to starting with nothing but a bucket of potatoes. Spring kicked my arse repeatedly, particularly day 1. The peashooter lived up to its name: with so many tanky enemies moving and firing so fast, it made clearing camps very difficult in order to get a solid foothold. I did manage to get as far as the final boss again but I was looking a bit wobbly on health and bumped into a scarecrow which was enough to prevent me dodging the killing bullet. At that point I rage-decided I was done with scarecrows and the ensuing runs went poorly :-) You need scarecrows to keep the swarms of bugs off your crops–turrets and firepower alone often aren’t enough!

Eventually I decided to go with Rye again because I needed that repair chance to save my weapon (and the cashews), and a turret would help me deal with the early aggressors. Somehow my parsniper rifle (such a good pun) got repaired throughout winter so it was maxed out with reload, zap, pierce, crit and clip upgrades for both bosses. It was instrumental in allowing me to clear some of the secondary areas and get extra seeds, farm animals and items. Oh, and I finally got some warthog/mutant pigs and I see what you mean about their aggression! Amazing. I also made a point of stockpiling pigeon scrolls so I could focus on avoiding damage during nuclear winter.

That was the winning run and it felt great to finally get into that final fight with plenty to throw at the boss. I was pretty wired afterwards.

Following that run, on Sunday, I decided to go back to year 1 (with Thyme and the time capsule) and… my god. It’s hard to get across just how stark the difficulty difference is from 10 to 1, bearing in mind it took me about 15 hours to crack year 1 when I first started playing. There’s a clear bump with each year but it’s hard to notice exactly what has changed until you go back to the very beginning. This made me realise just how much you grow as a player with each year you survive. I felt like a post-apocalyptic farming god going back to year 1 after doing 10. The time capsule gave me the longer days item and, of course, with Thyme those days were even longer still, so that particular DIY ‘epilogue’ run allowed me to knock off nearly all the remaining achievements and, in my mind, put Atomicrops out to pasture.

My new controller arived. I though I picked up a new xbox controller first party but it feels light and I think it’s actually third party.

That said, I am still having one of the issues I had previously. Namely, that the controls stutter between controller/keyboard. It makes it so that the help icons keep swapping back and forth but it also makes a button press do multiple things (like shoot when you didn’t hit the appropriate button). And sometimes it makes the game minimize. Sigh.

That’s very weird. Do you play it through Steam? I played it through Epic using an old 360 pad. I wonder if going into Steam’s controller config and disabling ‘Xbox Configuration Support’ might help. That basically tells Steam to stop interpreting inputs.

You’ll want to de-toggle that.

It’s a bit out there but it’s all I can think of!

I double checked it but it’s not checked (wasn’t expecting it to be).

It’s weird, my first game on the new controller was problem free. The second game was where that happened, and it nbearly cost me a good year 2 run (I lost 4 hearts when the game minimized and was down to 1; but I battled back and won).

What are kittens for?

Kittens are for nothing I discovered.

I continue to oscillate between everything working fine in game and getting spaz out controller issues. I just lost a great year 3 run due to the game just losing focus. I tried restarting the game but the same thing started happening in the new run. I feel like it’s something windows related. Button presses in game start doing stuff out of the game (e.g. I had a stream up on my second monitor and it swapped who the active video was).

Also I unlocked a 4th anthill.

Oh damn, I forgot to respond to you! Yeah, I never worked out if there was some longer term thing with the cats but it seemed like pointless fluff to me.

It’s a real shame you’re having difficulties with the game losing focus. No idea what it could be. I hope you manage to isolate the issue before you get further because it’s going to get saltier and saltier on those solid runs.

I reinstalled drivers, so far in two games nothing. I ruined two good runs due to my own stupidity :)

Wasted wings too. I hate that.