Neo Atlas 1469 is a new to the West simulation/strategy game that recently re-released for PC on February 14, 2017. Before that, it was a PlayStation Vita game exclusive to Japan, with an October 2016 release. As a fan of simulation games, I was definitely excited going into this game. In Neo Atlas 1469, you take over a failing trade company in Portugal in the year of, you guessed it, 1469. Your goal is to build a fleet of admirals to explore the world over and report back, allowing you to chart a map of the earth and establish trade routes to exotic locations. The most unique and fun part of this game is definitely the exploration.
Each time an admiral reports back from a voyage, you have the choice to accept or reject the report. If you accept it, the discoveries will be locked in on the map. If not, you can send them out again to discover something else. This mechanic shapes and changes the world map according to your choices and can result in an unconventional world map by the end of the game.
After discovering cities with resources to trade, establish moneymaking trade routes and combine resources to create new, more valuable exports. While waiting on voyages to complete, you can zoom in and out around the map and hunt for treasure chests, which sometimes contain valuable progression items. After playing for a few hours I had to admit that, well, this part simulation game part visual novel isn’t necessarily very good. That said, I’ve been enjoying it nonetheless and will be putting an embarrassing amount of time into it.
While waiting on voyages to complete, you can zoom in and out around the map and hunt for treasure chests, which sometimes contain valuable progression items. After playing for a few hours I had to admit that, well, this part simulation game part visual novel isn’t necessarily very good. That said, I’ve been enjoying it nonetheless and will be putting an embarrassing amount of time into it.
First, Neo Atlas 1469’s many weaknesses. The game has little story episodes, which introduce new characters and exploration goals. Unfortunately, most of the characters weren’t given much personality and the dialogue seems to drag on. I also noticed a few typos while playing, a big immersion breaker for me. The game looks and feels like a cheap visual novel for the story driven portions, plain and simple. I skimmed through the story episodes as quickly as I could to get back to good old exploration and trade.
Meanwhile, the soundtrack is okay, if repetitive. You are able to unlock new theme variations, but they’re so similar that I ended up getting tired of it altogether and substituting my own music while I played. The biggest turnoff for me, though, was the obnoxiously long and overly detailed tutorial. It took me about an hour to fully finish the tutorial and gain access to all the game’s features. As the dialogue isn’t very interesting, to begin with and your helper Miguel is too annoying to salvage the experience, the tutorial feels like an eternity.
Despite this, the good in this game kept me playing. The world building feature was unique and exciting, it also kept me engaged to see what my world would look like. Strategizing the most profitable trade routes and trying to figure out which resources to combine to craft new, more valuable resources were also enjoyable aspects of this game. I was relieved that Neo Atlas 1469 doesn’t hold your hand when combining objects to try creating new resources, so you’re given a bit of challenge in what’s overall a pretty casual game.
Furthermore, it takes a moderate amount of strategy to plan and maintain profitable trade routes and offers manual treasure hunting to pass the time while waiting on your fleet to return from voyages. This little time wasting feature helps keep it from becoming a background game, the kind where I end up browsing in another window while waiting for timed events to complete.While I had a lot of fun playing Neo Atlas 1469, I probably wouldn’t have bought it for the full retail price of $29.99. This game had its strengths but was ultimately a flawed experience that couldn’t reach its full potential. Despite this, it can still be a pretty fun time waster and isn’t worth a total write off. I
If you’re like me and have somehow racked up an inexplicable amount of hours playing clicker games like Adventure Capitalist or Cookie Clicker, then you’ll probably enjoy this game. It’s definitely suited to a niche audience, but for people who like clicker games and casual time wasters with a bit of strategy mixed in, I recommend picking this game up when it goes on sale. Neo Atlas 1469 is available now on PC.