After playing I Was an Atomic Mutant, a movie monster action title developed by Canopy Games, I’ve decided on a new policy for myself. I’m not going to spend longer reviewing a game than I did playing it. Now, if I were a slow writer, then that could present a problem, especially since I review a lot of adventures, and the over-under for adventures is in the neighborhood of eight hours. But I’ve been writing reviews for a while now, and I can usually pump one of these things out in 2-3 hours. Still, that’s longer than I spent playing Atomic Mutant, because, as you might expect from a budget title published by ValuSoft, it isn’t filled with a lot of complex, lasting gameplay. I saw everything there was to see in about an hour, and then I spent another hour on the game just so I wouldn’t feel guilty about it. So forgive me if this review is brief; I’m on the clock.
In Atomic Mutant you get to control one of four 50’s B-movie-style monsters. She-Beast is a huge woman who punches and stomps and shoots lasers out of her eyes; Reptomicus is a little known relation to Godzilla, and it does its damage with fireballs and atomic bites; the Invader from Dimension X features an X-cannon and death rays; and the Brain from Beyond Infinity uses an insanity ray to confuse people and a mind whomp to kill them. As you might get from the descriptions of the creatures, Canopy Games had a lot of fun with the theme of the game, and all the bells and whistles are first rate. The interface is fun -- instead of exiting the game, you flee to the desktop, and instead of changing your settings, you mutate them -- each creature gets a nice introductory video featuring snippets from old B movies, and the graphics engine is colorful.
Where Atomic Mutant has its problems is in the gameplay. Each level of the game features a town or a city or a military installation, and what you have to do with your chosen creature is destroy it. There are citizens fleeing from you and military units attacking you, but they’re secondary; all you have to do to finish each level is destroy all the buildings. Now, as you progress through the levels, the areas get bigger and the military units get more powerful (eventually you even have to fend off some weird sonic weapon that could have been a part of Command and Conquer), but nothing else happens. You don’t unlock more powers as you go along, and there aren’t any cut scenes. You just destroy buildings and then destroy more buildings and then keep destroying buildings until you’re thoroughly bored. I got bored after about ten levels, but I managed to make it to level 24 in one game. I have no idea how many levels there are in total. Maybe something cool happens if you get through them all. I doubt it, but you never know.
There are some reasons you might want to buy Atomic Mutant. There is some fun to be had totally ravaging towns and cities, and, what the heck, it’s only $20. But if you’re looking for a game that’ll be more than a weekend fling, look elsewhere.