Title: Neon Chrome
Available on: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Genre: Top-Down Shooter, Run, and Gun
Official Site: https://neonchromegame.com/
Release Date: Available Now on PC, PS4, Xbox One
Where to Buy: Xbox Store, PSN, Steam
Neon Chrome is described as a ruthless, cyberpunk, top down shooter where you find yourself as a hacker taking control of assets to take down the evil Overseer. The entire game takes place in an arcology, which is essentially a mega structure that can house up to a million people. Think of them as “Mega Blocks” if you’ve seen Dredd. In order to get to the Overseer, you will have to fight through waves of enemies, floor by floor, with a number of different weapons and cybernetic abilities. If you die, it’s back to floor one to do it all over again. Is the twin stick shooter that is Neon Chrome worth your time? Well yes… and maybe no.
If the twin stick shooter genre is your thing, then Neon Chrome is without a doubt a game to give a go. The action can be fast paced and hectic as you battle floor by floor to get to the Overseer. This is also a very tough game – at least it has been for me. While I would say I like twin stick shooters, it is not a genre that I play regularly. Therefore that may be a reason that I found Neon Chrome harder than someone who may typically play that genre. This caused quite a bit of initial frustration for me because I found myself dying… a lot. Once you die, it’s back to floor one for you to start all over again. The only time you will not respawn at the very beginning is after beating a boss level. I easily spent a good 35 minutes just to get to a point where I did not respawn back at the beginning. At that point, I had finally been able to buy enough upgrades to make a notable difference in making my character stronger and finally able to make it to higher floors.
Neon Chrome very much reminds me of the science fiction novel “All You Need Is Kill” which is also what the movie Edge of Tomorrow is based off. The concept is basically live, die, repeat. The difference is, here you are a hacker taking control of assets instead of being stuck in a time loop. You’ll have three separate assets to choose from, each varying in abilities and weapons. At one point I found one of my assets named Rutger Hauer, which is a fun little nod to the film Blade Runner. As you progress through the levels, you will come across upgrade stations and weapon crates. I found the most success in using an assault rifle or SMG during my play through. While the shotguns can be devastating at close proximity, I like being able to fire accurately from a distance if need be. This also allowed me more time to dodge incoming fire.
The three types of assets you will take control of are hackers, assassins, and soldiers. Each has their own unique abilities that complement different styles of play. The soldier for instance was a go to for me because I very much like to go into battle guns blazing. The soldier has a shield which will reduce the amount of damage taken from the front. The assassin was my next favorite; they have the ability to cloak in low lit areas. Finally, the hacker can access certain terminals the others can not. They will all have varying abilities and specials unless you purchase something specific for them before the start of taking control of them. The goal of all these assets and you, the hacker, is to reach and defeat the evil Overseer on the top floor. You will reach a boss after a number of stages and these guys are no joke. They all have three stages of health which each stage being considerably tougher to beat than the one before. Failing to defeat these bosses and having to head all the way back down to the beginning of that stage is where the bulk of my frustration stemmed from.
Now, even though you will more than likely find yourself dying a few times and heading back to the beginning, it won’t be the same. I quickly noticed that level one was not the same as I played through again a second time after dying. This is where Neon Chrome succeeds in not allowing you to get stuck in the exact same level over and over again and also offers a different experience for each play. So, in the event you decide to go back and visit the first chapter, you won’t already know where all the enemies are and whether you’ll have objectives or not. This was something I really enjoyed about the game despite how much I found myself revisiting level one. While the website for Neon Chrome does list combat and puzzle challenges in the game, they are fairly basic.
I found another interesting thing about the game was the engine on which it runs. This engine was built in-house from scratch and works well for what it is. As I said before, the look and sound of the game immediately drew me in. The soundtrack was done by Jonathan Geer and it the perfect fit for this style of game. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you’ll know I am just getting my feet wet again in terms of gaming on PC. So I was incredibly delighted that I could use my Elite Controller for playing Neon Chrome and found myself getting much further being able to do so. I found the mouse frustrating to use with keeping my turning and aiming tight in those nail-biting firefights. This may be more due to the inexperience of me as a PC gamer than a fault of the game.
Neon Chrome is a fantastic twin-stick shooter but it is not a game that you’ll just blow through. It’s tough… really tough… and you’ll need patience. Live, die, repeat. That’s what you’ll be doing here as you slowly earn money, upgrade your assets and continue to work your way to the Overseer. If this repetitive grinding gameplay is something you’re not a fan of, then you may end up quite frustrated with Neon Chrome. The game does offer local co-op play so you could have some friends join you if that’s more your speed. You can have two to four players for this cyberpunk shooter.
Neon Chrome is currently available for $11.24 on Steam for the summer sale which ends on July 4th. If $12 is something you could spare then I’d say pick up Neon Chrome and give it a go. While it is frustrating, the frustration slowly begins to pay off as you upgrade your assets, but just be prepared to die… a lot. Have you played Neon Chrome? If so, what did you think? Did you find the game as difficult as I did or am I just a sissy gamer? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
- Gameplay: Twin stick shooter that is fast paced, fun and frustrating. Live, die, repeat.
- Graphics: In-house game engine built from scratch with a lot of… Neon.
- Sound: Phenomenal soundtrack by Johnathan Geer, fair weapon sounds.
- Presentation: Twin stick top down shooter is what you see and it’s what you get.
- Relentless Action
- Great twin stick shooter
- Too much grinding