Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Neon Chrome Review!


You may be quick to dismiss Neon Chrome as a generic top down shooter. While its story may give something to be desired, its progression and simple but effective gameplay still makes for a decent game that is worth the price of entry - even though it gets boring after a while.overseer.jpg (1920×1080)
In the game you play as an unknown hacker in a dystopian future, in a building where everybody lives called Neon Chrome ruled by the evil Overseer whom you have to overthrow. You inhabit several bodies which you use to take on a plethora of different enemies from foot soldiers to spider robots to hovertanks. They don't really do much job of explaining who you are, your motives or the Overseer's, they just emphasise the fact that he's evil through his dialogue and deeds, and seeks to improve Neon Chrome via any means necessary. Due to that we can't really connect with either side, and are left just playing and supporting the good side because well, they're good. Luckily, story isn't all that makes a game.
The game is a roguelike. In that people expect to die a lot, which is where the "inhabiting several bodies" comes in. The game's difficulty actually isn't that difficult assuming you know what all the enemies do and how to handle them. But the first time you deal with certain enemies you could very well die, especially with the bosses. Every time that happens you go back to your hub area. In here you can purchase upgrades for health, luck, damage etc, and pre-purchase weapons and skills for your "Asset". It's balanced though, so you can only purchase one of each - otherwise you would be too powerful straight out the door. Before entering, you get one of three random classes.
The one people would most likely go for is the Hacker, as it grants you access to convenient places with upgrades. The one I always go for is the Cyber Psycho, for more survivability and choice. It doesn't give you an entirely new experience, but it changes play style slightly. There's also Techie, which has a shield, but less health, Assassins who can go undetectable and Soldiers who take less damage but are slow.
Actual gameplay is very simple. Its a top-down shooter where you walk around, click to shoot, right click to use your special ability. You can melee, and there are 3 main types of specials: EMPs, grenades, and missiles. It's easy to get into, and in addition to that, the game has destructible walls, which add a more tactical spin on things as you can make shortcuts or create ambushes. Your main objective is to get to the next elevator upwards to the various bosses. The layout of the levels certainly have a formula to them, and some even get repeated, but they have weapon upgrades and chests, character upgrades and medbays for healing all throughout. Every time you open a weapon upgrade or chest, the loot level goes up, which increases the quality of all weapons you find, so you're encouraged to do so.
Each zone has a theme, such as office spaces, warehouses or labs, and each zone has a boss. You can start from the next zone once you defeat the boss, however I wouldn't recommend it as you'll be less powerful. The bosses aren't that common, and get even more annoying when you find out the last two bosses are reskins of the first two. While some of the ideas for them were cool, such as activating turrets to distract the boss, it didn't feel like enough was put into their design.
You may also find purple elevators throughout your Judge Dredd-like experience fighting up a building. These are unique challenge rooms which provide a break from the combat. They have a different look to them and usually encourage a more puzzle, speed or environment oriented behaviour towards them in order to snag extra bonuses.
What keeps you going are those bonuses - unlocks are scattered throughout the levels, and you're encouraged to continuously replay from different areas of the game as the unlockables are zone-exclusive. You can get new weapons, abilities and enhancements for your asset to use later on in your playthrough, which is very useful in getting the player to keep pushing on, to find out what cool things are in store for them next. However, once that is over, there's nothing to really keep you going, the gameplay just doesn't have the staying factor to do that, its too repetitive.
The presentation of the game isn't much to write home about either, having typical sci-fi electronic music that grows increasingly irritating as you listen for hours on end, and visuals that just aren't that interesting. They're too simple and lack the charm that say another roguelike's visuals such as Rogue Legacy or Binding of Isaac have.
Neon Chrome is, to be brutally honest just average. Its topdown shooting mechanics are solid, but there's non-existent story and its repetitiveness gets the better of it, as it can't provide enough new experiences each time to make it interesting.
I'd recommend this game to fans of top down shooters, and somewhat to fans of rogue-likes, as it has good mechanics but falls flat in its attempt to keep each runthrough fresh.
Thanks to the developers for providing us with a review copy!

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