Neo Atlas 1469 Review
Release Date: April 9th, 2019
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: ARTDINK Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Welcome to the year 1469! You control a Portuguese trading company whose Admiral has just vanished somewhere in the Atlantic. You must now recruit a new Admiral and establish new trade routes to restore your company’s fortunes and hopefully find your lost admiral. This is how your story begins, and your choices will determine how it advances. The mechanics quickly break down to four things. Exploration, trading items and establishing trade routes and following the treasure and side quests that pop up along the way. Oh wait, is that only three things? Oh yes, I forgot to mention you get to watch and endless series of slides that illustrate the story with color commentary provided by Miguel, the most annoying assistant since Microsoft Bob (look it up, kids).
Exploration is accomplished via your Admirals. The first few are free while subsequent recruits must be unlocked by watching more slides. (Ahem) I mean advancing their quests. These quests can be as simple as finding them or as complicated as helping them settle old scores. Each new Admiral brings their own suite of strengths and weaknesses to the table. For example, Admiral Almeida can salvage sunken ships and her high charisma allows her to dock in any city, but she fights like a three-toed tree sloth and is vulnerable to everything from pirates to THE KRAKEN. You can offset this by buying better ships and weapons.
What your admirals find will shape your map and the opportunities available to you. Admirals will also occasionally report things that don’t exist warping your perception of the world. After all, lousy intel has brought down empires bigger than your little trading company. Do you head around Africa to reach the Far East or do you pull a Columbus and just go west?
The exploration gives your Admirals a hobby but your butt is back in Lisbon so you will have to handle the business end of things by establishing trade routes, fighting off pirates and trying to turn a profit, and of course what would the Late Middle Ages be without a visit from everyone’s favorite pandemic, the plague? This cuts profits by decreasing, well, everything.
Quests and treasures aren’t as fun as they sound. However, you spend most of the time you aren’t watching the story advance via the endless series of slides, merely looking around the map zooming in on icons to see if its what you are looking for. The more you explore, the more treasure and trade routes.
The goal is to complete all the quests and presumably map the Earth. The game is relatively large, and I’ve yet to map the whole thing.
In terms of actual historical accuracy, it’s about a C. Many of the concepts and setting are real but the story and characters are made up. It would be a useful game for a third grader to play if they can get past the boredom of the endless story slides, and I do mean endless. I thought I was simply doing the intro the first evening I played it.
Bottom line. Neo Atlas 1469 has a good concept, good artwork, and some innovative ideas, but it's too darned boring to work as a game, not accurate enough to work as educational software, and the story isn’t engaging enough to work as a visual novel. So, it’s an honorable swing and a miss for developer Artdink.
Orgasmic fun for PowerPoint lovers
Miguel, the impossibly annoying assistant