Atlas Reactor is in closed beta currently, but it will be free and open to everyone come next Monday (July 8th). It is a game unlike any I’ve played before. Atlas Reactor is a clever mash-up of tactics style strategy games like XCOM with MOBAs like League of Legends. It is turn-based, but also simultaneous. You would think a turn-based tactics game would be impossible to play online versus real players, but it works really well in Atlas Reactor. Each turn players have 20 seconds to make their plans in Decision mode and then the actions are played out in the resulting Resolution. The actions are visually represented in a certain order but the math actually occurs instantly, so no players’ actions happen before any others… unless they are in different phases. There are 4 phases that actions can belong to: prep, dash, blast, move. The prep phase occurs first and includes trap placement and buffs. Dash is a fast movement that is used to dodge attacks, but will have a cooldown and can’t be used every turn. Then blast are when regular attacks occur, and lastly you move your character to a new location. Characters can’t dash and blast in the same turn, they can only use a prep action + dash/blast then move.
Like League of Legends or the newer Overwatch, players take control of characters called “Freelancers” (some games call them heroes or champions, but it is all the same). Each Freelancer is completely different from the others, with various unique moves, skins, and taunts. A Freelancer can be leveled up and you can also “mod” their skills to be slightly different. There is a small degree of customization, but not too much because it would be hard to keep the game competitive. I may get around to writing a review of this game eventually, but I have quite a few ahead of it first. For now, why not go to the official site and download the game to see for yourself? There is a trailer below so you can if you think you’d rather watch gameplay before downloading.
Joe Portes is a writer of Fiction and Essays, as well as a Creative Writing instructor in Upstate New York. He has edited literary journals and online magazines where his stories, interviews, and reviews have also appeared. His work has been in or is forthcoming in the Indianola Review, Pitkin Review, and Free George Magazine among others. Aside from writing for the Pop Culture Beast, he maintains a blog at JoePortes.com where you can read about everything from teaching college freshmen, to his love of podcasts, to playing video games.