Neon Chrome is a top-down, cyber-punk shooter developed by 10tons. The game stars “The Unknown Hacker” on her mission to save the futuristic city of Neon Chrome from an oppressive totalitarian ruler. The player must make their way through 30 randomly generated levels and collect over 20 weapons to make their way to the last boss.
After a quick opening scene you are dropped in a scripted level called Lab 13. After meeting the villain the player is forced to battle and lose. The death results in the player being transported to the main hub of the game. It turns out that “The Unknown Hacker” establishes a neural connection with different super soldiers through a chair (Total Recall style) and controls them in an effort to reach the top of Neon Chrome to face the villain.
In the hub you can spend in-game currency to level up, buy weapons and power-ups for your character. You then take neural control of various characters, each with their own unique abilities.
You have one life to beat the first five levels and a boss fight, if you die you have to start again from the first level. Luckily, Neon Chrome is unique in that level routes are randomly generated. That means that you won’t have to go through the same five levels every time you have to start over. The game is going for an old-school arcade feel and the levels are pretty difficult, the one thing that is the same about the levels is how little health pick-ups you’ll find on your way.
The game sometimes feels like the original Metal Gear games, in that enemies have a field of vision and can lose track of you. Some walls in the game are destructible to allow the player a chance to sneak up behind enemies for a significant damage bonus. Being sneaky offers a slow-paced, more safe approach to the levels, but this is sometimes punished by the game sending a big wave of enemies your way after a certain amount of time has passed. But the game is always running a timer at the bottom of the screen while you’re playing so it’s pretty fun to try to go as fast as possible.
The game can be artificially difficult at times and force you to grind. But that is expected in these kind of games.
Porting over the game should have come with a graphical update. The game isn’t in HD and bares muddy textures along with low-polygon character models. The enemy designs have little variability but they at least each have their own unique A.I and movement patterns.
The 80’s sci-fi aesthetic is pretty nice and leads to a nice art direction. Settings look futuristic and the over-all art design is unique.
Its little voice acting is well-done and really helps spark interest into the game’s plot. The game’s soundtrack is nothing too memorable. A couple of generic sounding techno beats lend to the game’s atmosphere but nothing ever really stands out.
Neon Chrome is a pretty long game and casuals will have to spend some time grinding. More experienced gamers may not find it extremely difficult but after defeating the final boss, the player can start from level one and face beefed up enemies and continue to level their character.
If you’re a fan of top-down, old-school arcade shooters, Neon Chrome is for definitely for you. The genre of game however, isn’t for everyone and it’s fair to say some might not think it worth the price.
Neon Chrome is available now on the PlayStation Store!