We’ve reviewed a few 10tons games in the past, and now it’s time for our Neon Chrome review — a top-down twin stick shooter with procedurally generated environments, and random character assets!
Check out the launch trailer, then read on for the rest of our review.
Your goal as an “asset” (character) is to make your way through Neon Chrome and use your weapons and cybernetic enhancements to reach and destroy the Overseer who controls all. It’s definitely not a deep story, but hey we’re talking about a top-down shooter here.
When you start the game, you get to choose from one of three assets with different benefits and weapons. Benefits include things like 20% extra energy, 20% extra hit points, 10% extra speed, or even 20% less energy. In addition to the different benefits, each will have a main weapon such as an assault rifle or shotgun, and a secondary attack like missiles or a laser pulse. Lastly, your asset will have a specific skill like a companion drone that enables hacking or the ability to choose from four enhancements instead of three (more on that in a minute).
Once you choose your asset, you’re thrown into the first level. There are a total of 6 chapters with between 5 and 6 levels in each tier for a total of 30 levels, the final being the grand finale battle against the Overseer.
Once you enter the first level, you fight your way through it, trying to find the exit as fast as you can without dying. Along the way you collect loot, hack certain items, find upgrades for your weapons, new weapons, and generally just destroy whatever you can with your primary and secondary weapon and melee attack. You’ll also need to find keys to unlock certain doors in order to access secret areas, and in some cases progress further in the level.
Controls on the Xbox One are fairly simply with movement controlled by the left thumbstick, aiming by the right thumbstick, pressing down on the right thumbstick or left bumper for a melee attack, A button to use an item, B to reload, right trigger to shoot your primary weapon, and finally the left trigger for your secondary or special attack. On the PC, your W/A/S/D keys control your movement while you use your mouse to aim and fire, the E key to use items, and the R key to reload.
Killing enemies and looting items will grant you cash, while looting will also occasionally give you a weapon upgrade or other item. Your asset has 3 enhancement slots, unless you choose to play as an asset that has additional bonus slots. As you progress through the levels, you’ll come across CyberHance Express stations which allow you to choose from over four dozen cybernetic abilities which increase health, damage, weapon clip size, and much, much more. Don’t take your time either as if you dilly dally, you’ll get a warning that reinforcements are being sent after you and the map is flooded with enemies a few seconds after that.
When you die it’s back to the beginning of the current chapter, however at this point you can use your credits to purchase health, damage, luck, energy, and upgrade slots. The first four can be upgraded up to 100 times, while slots can be upgraded to a maximum of 10. You can also purchase weapons, abilities, and enhancements for your next asset which allows you to take some of the asset randomization out of the mix. The good news is that you have infinite lives, and the character stat upgrades that can be bought between deaths are permanent upgrades, which adds a bit of a rudimentary RPG element to the game.
The game isn’t an easy one either, so don’t expect a walk in the park. There were a few times I found myself wishing there was an easy/normal/hard mode option choice. Each time you die and restart, you spawn out of a new chamber in the Hibernation Vault, numbered so as to let you know how many times you’ve died already. A few tips that should help: make sure you use your weapons and abilities to destroy everything you can, spend your cash to upgrade your stats, install cybernetic enhancements at every opportunity, and choose your preferred character before each run being sure to balance firepower and stats. And forget about trying to memorize the level layouts, they’re procedurally generated each time so you’ll be kept guessing on enemy placement and the route out.
We were able to review both the Xbox One and the PC version and I’d definitely recommend using a controller with the PC version as well.
Neon Chrome is a top down shooter, and the graphics are decent enough and work well with the type of game it is. It definitely helps to play on a larger screen (or close to your screen) due to the number of elements that can be present on screen at any given time. Visual cues for loot boxes and the radius of explosions are prominent, and it’s pretty easy to distinguish against each type of enemy.
Both the sound effects and background music are well done. The weapon, explosion, and other cues are bang on and the background music during the levels is upbeat and energetic, and adds to the franticness of the game and level as you’re trying to make your way through it. The music is also pretty loud though (at least on Xbox One) and I found I had to play at a much lower volume than I normally play at. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you’re playing in an environment where you can stand to have it a bit louder.
Neon Chrome also features a co-op mode which allows for up to four players to play together. It’s a little harder on the PC version depending on your setup, but is a lot of fun — and a bit easier — running through Neon Chrome on your way to the Overseer when you’ve got a friend along. Unlike single player where you can run around blowing stuff up without having to worry about getting caught in the blast, you’ll have to pay extra attention to where your partner is so you don’t accidentally blow him up with the environment or an explosive weapon.
If you’re looking for a fun, frantic, and challenging top-down twin stick shooter, Neon Chrome offers all that and more with its procedurally generated levels and characters. Neon Chrome is currently available for PC on Steam with the PlayStation 4 version releasing today, and the Xbox One version releasing next week. (Note, we’ll add links to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions as they are made available).