Every now and then I check back in. To see if anybody's still playing, of course, but also to see if the thing really exists, if there really is a game as ingenious and quirky as Atomega. This is multiplayer battling by the same team at Ubisoft that made Grow Home. With that lineage it was never going to be bad. But it didn't have to be this good, either. Atomega is wonderful.
I got a game on Sunday morning, as it happens. Just me and two other players, but it was enough. Atomega drops you all into a compact battle arena that is warrenous as well as being weirdly sepulchral. Everything is a Swiss-cheese temple, basically, with dozens of corridors and secret passages to find.
Your job is to evolve. You start as a little ball of light and you move through a series of quick changes by eating the big purple blocks that spawn around the place. Eventually, you're a gorilla, and then a sort of giant bipedal robot, and then... and then somebody gets to be a god.
Of course, everyone's trying to do this, and you rarely meet your enemies when they're at the same scale as you. A couple of laser blasts from someone a few tiers above you will send you back to being a ball of light again, but when there's a god knocking around, everyone's in trouble.
My favourite thing about Atomega isn't purely the fact you get to grow and be gigantic, though. It's that as you grow, the map subtly alters the ways you get around: old passages will become inaccessible because you're too big, while new ones will open up because you're able to physically get to them. These maps, all of which feel like echoing open spaces at first, are all filled with these secret speedways, corridors meeting magically in a manner that puts me in mind of Burnout Paradise.
I had a few games on Sunday, marvelling at the poise and invention of the whole thing, but also the simplicity and immediacy of it. And then I logged off. Hopefully when I'm back in a few weeks there will still be someone to play with. There always has been so far.
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