Neo ATLAS 1469
Top Critic Average
Neo Atlas 1469 is an odd creation. Individually, each element is far too weak to stand on its own – and I'm certainly too lazy to go around calling it a "Adventure/Simulation/Strategy/Visual Novel/RPG/Point and Click Bear Finder." Yet, together, they keep you engaged, with light but solid narratives having you finding Sinbad's anchor or breaking curses while you wait for that next fleet report to come in.
I found myself constantly in good spirits exploring new routes, accepting or rejecting reports and cleaning up quests quickly. While some elements are keen to repeat a bit too much, there was something calming about every go I had. From what I could tell, each playthrough can be completely different and this will likely keep me coming back for more later down the line.
When I first saw this at TGS last year, I thought it was going to be a grander simulation game than it has turned out to be. In part I'm disappointed, because a hardcore simulation about exploring uncharted oceans in search of new land would be a fascinating game, but at the same time the simple, clean charm of Neo Atlas is really difficult to resist, especially when I'm in the mood to play something low-pressure while catching up on my movie or television backlog.
The game may be fun in some ways, but after an hour of having the instruction manual read at you, you're likely going to stop caring about this game and decide to move on to the next.
Despite its lack of challenge, Neo Atlas 1469 offers up a unique and enjoyable experience.
If one were to judge Neo Atlas 1469 on its title and cover art alone, it might be tempting to categorize it as just a generic eShop title. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. In my roughly 27.5 hours playing though it, I found it to be a very enjoyable and entrancing game. The core gameplay was admittedly a bit repetitive at times and lacked much difficulty, but I found myself on multiple occasions thinking “just five more minutes” only to find myself saying the same thing five minutes later. With its procedurally generated world mapping system, it’s weird clashes of different styles, and its ability to prey upon my completionist instincts, I walked away feeling very satisfied. Without having paid the full $49.99 price tag myself, it’s hard to say if that is a reasonable price or not. What I can say is that this is one of the more unique titles that I’ve played in a good while and it offers a great deal of replayability. Everyone has different tastes, but if you enjoy mapping things out or playing games that involve a fair bit of micromanagement, this one’s worth taking a look at.
It was actually kind of nice to see a full simulation title like this on the Nintendo Switch, and it all works just fine, even if the content is not going to be for everyone. With loads of text and a somewhat distanced, managerial perspective that keeps quests and combat accessible while at the same time not being all that exciting, this is what Neo ATLAS 1469.
WORTH CONSIDERING - Neo Atlas 1469 is a simulator that shares a lot with graphic novels. You’ll be setting up trade routes, discovering new lands, and hunting for treasure. This is such a niche genre that not everyone will find enjoyment here, but it’s worth considering for those who love this style of gameplay or for those who are new to the genre.
This could have been a truly great game. Instead, it’s some truly great ideas, weighed down by a lot of bilge and barnacles.