Like a number of the “less said, the better” indie games in recent months (see also: Gravity Bone, etc.), the best thing Adam ‘Atomic‘ Saltsman’s just-released web game Fathom has going for it is the one secret that it would be a letdown to reveal before you’d even had a chance to play.
Suffice it to say: there’s considerable serenity packed deep within its outwardly militant core (a core guarded by, as you’ll see, this decade’s best flower-pot-security-bots), and a disquieting ending that its creator assures me shouldn’t sink my heart as much as it does.
If Saltsman’s name rings a bell it’s because — along with collaborators Infinite Ammo and Flashbang — he had a hand in designing recent Blurst release Paper Moon, as well as physics grappler Gravity Hook, the recently mentioned Dr. Dobbs promotional game, and the iPhone’s original word game best-seller Wurdle.
Saltsman’s pixels are effortlessly charming, his underlying concept — once you “get it” — is genuinely quite brilliant (here’s a hint, if you find yourself a little lost in the dark: the things around you? They’re trying to tell you something), and the game’s chiptune-prog score by Danny ‘dB Soundworks‘ Baranowsky (previously featured for his work on Flashbang’s Blush) works perfectly in concert with the rest to make a fantastic, thoughtful short-story of a game.
As a bonus, Saltsman and dB have given Offworld an exclusive track from Fathom‘s soundtrack, “Boss of Doooooom”, which you’ll recognize from the struggle pictured above. Stream it below, or download directly here.