Neon Chrome [official site] is a game that’s sure of two things: what it is and who it hopes to entertain. It’s a top-down roguelike shooter, you see, that asks you to run frantically around procedurally generated battlegrounds, blast waves of baddies until they stop moving/explode/both, and climb a hierarchy of levels before facing off against a grand final boss. If you don’t like games of this nature, for there are a lot of them, then you probably won’t like like this one. If you do, however, then I think you will like Neon Chrome. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played.
Story-wise, you fill the shoes of an outlawed hacker living in the eponymous megacity Neon Chrome. Deemed untrustworthy by The Man, you’ve been apprehended, strapped to a Total Recall-esque chair, and forced to control “assets” – dispensable mercenaries who harness a range of special abilities, weapons and unique attacks – as you strive for freedom. Dictating their actions remotely, you’ve been tasked with guiding these guns-for-hire up through the dozens of floors that comprise the Neon Corp skyscraper within which you now reside, with the ultimate aim of toppling the Overseer who rules from the top.
In practice, that looks a bit like this:
As is most clear there, Neon Chrome is all about fighting fire with firepower. Be that shotguns, SMGs, mini-rocket launchers, grenades, or assault rifles – clearing each floor of humans and automatons by any means possible is your lone priority, and how you choose to do so is by and large irrelevant. In the hour or so I spent messing around in its multiple murder zones, I spent the first quarter of an hour or so dying. And dying and dying and dying. Yet the game’s permanent upgrade system helped me raise my damage and HP stats to the point where I was better capable and eventually able to get out of that floor alive.
While this was challenging, it was great fun and with something to work towards I enjoyed learning how to best harness my abilities, how to fell certain enemies, and how to consistently grow my stats as I went.
It’s worth noting, though, that grinding appears to be central to the game’s progression. Although procedurally generated levels help to reduce familiarity somewhat, I do worry things could get stale in later levels. That said, destructible environments; a catchy ’80s techno soundtrack, a la Far Cry Blood Dragon; and variations in the game’s five different classes kept me more than entertained; all of which should help keep things fresh long-term.
If you that sounds like fun, Neon Chrome is out now on Steam for the discounted price of £9.89/$13.49.