Friday, April 29, 2011

Atmosphir by Minor Studios

Atmosphir by Minor Studios
Copyright 2007

Plot Summary: Atmosphir is a free-to-play game that would be most similar to Sony's Little Big Planet. Like Sony's exclusive game, Atmosphir encourages players to create their own world and to play in the worlds created by others. A simple to grasp, complex to master building system is put into place. Anyone can build a level, but it takes time and commitment to make some of the positively humongous and creative worlds that the Atmosphir community is sprinkled with. There is no official story involved with Atmosphir but this is for the best, as the idea is for users to create their own stories and levels with the building blocks provided by developers Minor Studios.

Critical Analysis: Atmosphir is a great game, but does suffer because it is free to play. Like many other free-to-play games, the game is playable with no financial commitment but additional content and premium content will cost a small amount of money. Atmosphir is difficult to criticize since it's so dependent on the creativity and skill of its users. In my experience, I came upon a 3D version of the first level of the original Super Mario Bros. that was superb and a few others levels that were messy and confusing. It all depends on luck. There are a few links to go to the levels voted the best by the community and the Atmosphir blog even posts daily features on notable levels, but it is frustrating to have to dig and search to find a level that looks fun.

The graphics in Atmosphir are passable, but not amazing. The avatars you play as are human-like with not much detail. The worlds are usually open, grassy, and sunshiny unless you actively try and avoid that style. As previously mentioned, the level creation tools are easy to use, difficult to master. Building a square out of the simple blocks provided, no problem. Building a complex network of moving floating platforms, that can take days.

Reader's Annotation: Build, create, and play your own levels or other user's levels in Atmosphir!

Author Information: Atmosphir is Minor Studios' first game. They are located in Buenos Aires and San Francisco. Minor Studios is part of the Minor Ventures family.


Genre: Action/Adventure/Platforming game

Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas: N/A

Reading Level: Ages 12 and up

Challenge Issues: N/A

Why I included this title: As a teen librarian under a budget, I am always looking for free and fun to play games that are appropriate for the library. Atmosphir fits this bill perfectly. It is engaging, fun, and teen-friendly. Teens love to make (usually impossible) levels and have me or other teens try them out, it makes for a great social tool.

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