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.
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.
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.
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.