Neon chrome is a top down, twin-stick shooter from the development studio 10tons, and while on the surface it might look like any other twin stick shooter, there’s a welcoming depth regardless of your skill level.
When you first fire up Neon Chrome you take control a a soldier attempting to work your way through a cyberpunk themed building before the overseer 1.0 let’s you know your going to die, and you know what, he’s spot on.
Soon enough you’ll die, and your character (an unnamed hacker) is thrown out of the system, being a persistent sod our protagonist heads back into the chamber and hacks a new asset in an endless line. You have a choice of three, which can be any of 5 character classes, such as a corporate soldier with a blast rifle or a shotgun wielding cyber-psycho, this method will feel familiar to fans of Rogue Legacy, and I’m sure it’ll appear more and more in future games.
Weapons, health and damage can be increased through upgrades, but if these are picked up during the mission, they die with the asset when the inevitable happens.
Collecting the currency you’ll find drop from enemies you’ve gunned down, you can then use those funds to buy permanent upgrades that will carry through all assets you use, meaning regardless of your skill level, you’ll still end up a super powerful tank of a cyber killer, even if it’s just some time longer than a better player.
It’s not all plain sailing though, with each asset comes a new challenge as the missions are procedurally generated meaning there’s no guessing what you’ve got ahead, there’s challenges (achievements) such as completing a mission unseen, or without firing a shot, and maybe in the stupidly quick time of 20 seconds, but these are best forgotten about initially until you’ve got a feel for the game, because the chance of getting a mission you can just stroll through are few and far between.
Regardless of the mission in front of you, the objective is always the same, get from point A to point B, sometimes there’ll be tons of enemies, others contain numerous key-cards that will drop from a fallen foe and unlock a door you need to pass, and occasionally it’s a much shorter quest of damaging a nearby object and then heading for the exit. There’s more than enough variation to keep things interesting, and the procedural generation means it’s a fresh mix every time.
Once you’ve purchased 4 or 5 health and damage upgrades you’ll start to find proceedings much easier, enemies die quicker and you don’t, meaning you’re likely to get through a couple of missions before you die, the first task however is to get past the first five, otherwise you’ll have to start from the beginning with your next asset.
As you progress past each set of 5 or 6 missions, you’ll move up a level, this then activates the relevant elevator meaning your next asset can jump straight to the level you were last on, there’s only 30 levels in total before you face the Overseer 1.0, but upon completion things get ramped up for an even tougher challenge, so it’s possible to go through again and again just for the fun of it.
This brings me nicely onto the gameplay, because while sound and graphics aren’t of the highest standard, the core gameplay feels very similar to good old fashioned Gauntlet, even more so than it’s own latter releases.
You get the attention of the enemies, then back up, relying on corners and bottlenecks with pin-point accuracy to dispatch the queue of enemies before you take too much damage, sometimes the pin-point accuracy can feel a little too tight, even shotguns need some degree of skill to dispatch enemies quickly, but once you get used to it, even the single firing weapons you’ve found or purchased, feel like a powerhouse.
Sometimes the lone foe can catch you unaware, sitting quietly and only unleashing an attack when your closeby, meaning a mad flurry to take him down or run away.
Unfortunately, the graphics aren’t much better than a last generation title, there’s some impressive effects as you blow up the many destructive environments such as windows or thin walls, It’s worth saying some of the themed surroundings look fine, but there’s quite basic detailing especially with some of the characters,.
Sound sadly falls into the same category, from the heavy electro-punk opening score, to the ongoing ambience, gun fire and sound effects, it could have been considerably better, but like smaller games should, the concentration has been in the most important areas of Gameplay and Value.