Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree is Norse mythology-inspired rhythm combat RPG by a developer in New Zealand, a publisher in Poland, and a composer from Australia. Talk about worldly! The story-driven game has been available on Apple Arcade since September 2019, but it’s now set to also be released for PC and Nintendo Switch.
The gods have abandoned Midgard; it was once a prosperous land teeming with mythical beings, but it now rots from the inside as it has been tainted by unknown forces. Odin’s chosen guardians are gone, which means the sacred Elder Tree is exposed to abuse and manipulation. The land’s only hope is Estra, the daughter of mankind’s last great leader.
Estra’s journey is filled with elements of Nordic folklore, mysterious twists, and consequential decisions. She’ll converse with a wide variety of characters while learning about her family’s past and why the darkness is spreading across the land. Her story is intertwined with the player’s ability to differentiate fact from fiction, right from wrong. The consequences of her actions are hers and hers alone.
As the game progresses, there are puzzles that get more and more challenging. They will reveal secrets, abilities, and passageways. Trial and error may help, but patience remains key as some puzzles don’t allow for multiple mistakes. Players will, in fact, fail. Probably repeatedly.
Combat doesn’t happen often, but sometimes violence becomes a necessity. The combat is described as a delicate dance of sword and axe, grounded in the rhythm game genre and mechanics from games like Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. Music is a crucial component. The music and sound design are by Luminist.
Developed by Wildboy Studios and published by Untold Tales, Atone: Heart of the Elder Tree will be released for PC via Steam and Nintendo Switch early next year.