Trion’s Atlas Reactor Out With Simulturn-Based Action

Atlas Reactor [official site], the simultaneous-turn-based multiplayer action game from Trove and Rift developers Trion Worlds, is now out. It’s a 4v4 murdersport with MOBA-ish freelancers an- wait, no, come back. Contrary to what the odd and incoherent style might suggest, it’s not Another Half-Arsed MOBA. No, Atlas Reactor is turn-based action where all players’ moves play out at once, in that Frozen Synapse sort of way. Anyway, you can see for yourself, as it does have an extended demo-ish ‘Free Mode’.

So! You know how Frozen Synapse has all players queue their orders up then watch them play out at the same time? Atlas Reactor does that, and with a range of Heroes Champions wizards Freelancers with different stats and abilities and whatnot. And you’ve only got 20 seconds to make your move.

Atlas Reactor’s turns are also split into several phases for different abilities, which play out in order. First up is the Prep phase, when characters cast buffs, summon shields, and lay traps. Then comes the Dash phase, when they use dodge and charge moves. Third is the Blast Phase, with attacks and knockback attacks. Lastly, the Move phase lets people… move. Each character can use one ability each time, as well as move – or move twice if they don’t use any ability. All these turns playing out one-by-one means that you might try to use an attack only to find the enemy has used a dodge to shift elsewhere. Here, this video demonstrates it:

I’ve not had a crack myself yet, though the idea is nice enough that I have kept meaning to. Er. What can I say – Devil Daggers and Deadly Premonition are hard to escape.

After a couple of months in early access and an open beta test, Atlas Reactor is now properly out.

If you fancy a go, you can get the Free Mode on Steam or through Trion. It’s unhelpfully presented as a free-to-play game but no, it’s a demo. It’ll let you play with a limited, rotating lineup of the game’s wizards – but doesn’t, as you might think, let you pay to unlock more. Just an extended demo, is all.

If you want to actually buy the game, you’ll want the confusingly-named Atlas Reactor – All Freelancers Edition. That’s £20.69 right now, including a small launch discount. Hit Steam or Trion for it. Don’t mind the All Freelancers Pro Edition and Ultimate Reactor Edition – they just have extra skins and XP boosters and guff.

Everything’s so complicated nowadays.


  1. arienette says:

    I was rather taken by this game, there’s a great deal of space for tactical play and thought, and the short time limits mean pressure is always on, but you’re free from having micro completely.

  2. InfiniteSubset says:

    I think it is a little misleading to say this is more granular than Frozen Synapse. In FS you could make many very small adjustments and actions over the course of each 5 second turn (you could have a unit move, shoot, turn, strafe, and finally crouch). In this you can take only a couple actions and only in a small number of predefined phases. That seems like the opposite of more granular…

  3. Arathain says:

    I like this a lot. The short turns keep everything sharp and pacy. Predicting movement to land a tricky shot is great. Some nice character design, too.

  4. nullward says:

    In addition to the micro-free yet tactical gameplay, the game looks good and sounds great. The voice acting is genuinely funny for many characters, especially the taunts.

    I definitely recommend trying it out. Just don’t skip the tutorial. Wrapping your head around the phases and sequencing takes a game or two.

    I also really like the main menu music… link to

    • haarp says:

      That soundtrack, mmmhhh yummy. I hope they add more tracks of this style.

  5. Stoopidity says:

    While I feel like in a lot of ways this is a “bad game” in the sense of production value, and I don’t really like the developers…. I can’t stop playing it.

    I agree with a poster earlier that said it’s like hearthstone in the way that it fills his time. I felt the exact same way, and was even telling my friend recently how it basically replaced hearthstone.

    Also, despite being turnbased, something about the pace of the game just feels really really good. The suspense of waiting for a turn to play out, and the SUPER high feelings of victory when you predict a dash perfectly with a blast skill is awesome. It relies a good bit on being able to predict you opponents so it takes a bit of time to learn all the moves for the chars in order to fully experience the joys of this game.

  6. Frank says:

    Coming from a MOBA, maybe this is good, but I found it disappointing as a turn-based tactics game. It boils down to a card game — everybody lay down your card, now we’ll all turn over at once — with the spatial aspect very much second fiddle to cooldown timers, tank/DPS/supportness and other MMO/MOBA tropes. As far as simultaneous turns go, I found (defunct game) Bang! Howdy’s implementation a lot more fun.

    EDIT: Holy wow, there’s an edit feature!

    • Kitsunin says:

      I don’t think this is exactly true. Movement comes after every other phase, so it’s true that you don’t need to worry about predicting it for every action you take (“Dash phase” abilities are more like an interrupt in a card game, as you say, which can potentially be countered if predicted). But the positioning is still incredibly important, as every ability in the game only works within its set range.

      For example, for Frontline freelancers you need to predict your opponents’ movement nearly every round. This way you can end up close enough to them to deal your damage and disruption, but still avoid being in the middle of everything, because even 200 HP + shields will melt damn fast if they can all hit you. AoE abilities (which most are) mean being in their ideal range makes the hits essentially free.

      I’ve had games where I totally effed up on my movements and found I had positioned myself in spots which made me unable to hit a single opponent for several turns in a row, while still being pecked to death from afar. I’ve also had games where I managed to land in just the right spot every turn, and nipped at my opponents’ heels every round while scarcely taking any hits. All of this is because of the positioning element.

      Also, I vaguely remember Bang! Howdy, and those memories are reaaaally fond.

      • Frank says:

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply.

        “For example, for Frontline freelancers you need to predict your opponents’ movement nearly every round.”

        Yeah, for me, the *prediction* part of what you describe is what’s not so fun. It feels like a game of — I pick heads or tails; you pick heads or tails; if the match, I win, but if they don’t, you win — familiar from card games. I see your point that positioning is still critical, but for me, the prediction overshadows the tactics too much (or at least what I think of as tactics).

  7. kertain says:

    I have to say I really like this game.
    Played it in the beta and purchased it before launch.
    I normally hate turn based games, but the pace and shorter matches fit me well. Also predicting your opponents moments/actions is really fun and does not require you to be a good mouse clicker :)