Gimme Indie Game: the hidden depths of Adam Atomic's Fathom (with bonus MP3!)
By Brandon Boyer
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.
Fathom [Adam Atomic, dB Soundworks]