Neon Chrome is the latest kid on the block of roguelikes, the game brings twin stick shooting and endless levels and all in all comes together in a fun little package. The game is set in a dystopian future on a tower filled with millions of people, your job is to stop the evil overseer from taking control of everything. To do so you climb the floors of the tower shooting all those that stand between you and stopping the overseer.
Each floor is a level with the goal simply being to reach the elevator at the end, standing in your way are plenty of enemies, locked doors and traps of various killing varieties. Each life you can choose from 3 different characters that have different weapons, abilities and class type. The various permutations can greatly affect how you go through a level, got a hacker? There are plenty more crates you can open for cash, got a shield, you can be more bold in firefights. The game does a good job of giving you a variety of options each play through.
The controls are also nice and straightforward, movement and aiming are mapped to the sticks, your ability is mapped to the L button and melee to the square button. The simple controls and core mechanics help keep gameplay fluid, with little to worry about you can focus your efforts more on feeling like a bad-ass.
Each time you die your character is taken back to the hub area where you can purchase upgrades with the gold you’ve found. The upgrades never feel too essential which can be disappointing but on the other hand it means the game never forces certain upgrades upon you. Between each life you can also purchase weapons and abilities for the next character to utilise.
Every few levels the game throws a boss level your way, the bosses mix things up with a suite of new attacks from a giant centipede that spawns mines and drones to attack you to a drop ship that can fire a concentrated laser at you.
To back up the game play, each of the games levels despite being randomly generated seem well designed enabling the player options in their approach. The game allows you to take things slowly and pick off enemies one by one in a more tactical manner such as shooting them through thin walls without their knowledge or luring a soldier with a riot shield into positions where he can be gunned down from behind. Alternatively, you can run through rooms quickly mowing down enemies and dodging bullets if that’s more your style.
The game is excellently designed and is worth looking at for design alone, to further sweeten the deal the game boasts an impressive amount of content, as well as the randomised levels there are secret rooms that’ll challenge your skills as well as new abilities and weapons to find. You’ll need to replay floors several times in order to unlock all the abilities and weapons, whilst optional it does open up more options for you later on in the game.
Unfortunately it is not all good news, the game does struggle to perform under more intense levels with lots of enemies, the game drops frames and much of the damage calculations go out the window so perhaps more optimisation for the Vita was needed. As well as the questionable performance on action heavy levels, the controls feel a little loose at times, aiming quickly can sometimes feel tricky and can cause problems switching between targets quickly.
These problems thankfully dont impact on the moment to moment enjoyment of the game and the good far outweighs the bad here. If you’re looking for a new shooter to scratch that action itch then Neon Chrome should definitely be on your radar.