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(Cybersp)Ace Combat: Fight Neon With Neon In Tross

Controls calamity

In the distant future of 2378, just as humanity finished installing neon lights on every edifice, a cyber apocalypse brings society to the brink of collapse. Tross is the program that can save the neon utopia. But it needs users to help it. They will drive a futuristic spaceship around, under and through cool structures and stylish buildings, forget which way is up and pew pew malicious files, all while listening to electronic music.

It came out this week, and I plugged myself into the program to gave it a spin.

It wasn't a very long spin to be honest, I didn't get to see much of the game. Tross seems cool, the visuals are appealing, the music really sells the experience, but it suffers from more than a few technical problems, ranging from minor annoyances to major issues. Most of all, the poor control scheme and lack of customization options meant I couldn't get past the first level after more than 15 minutes, even though it's not supposed to last more than 30 seconds. I knew what I had to do, but I kept crashing on random walls - instant death - because I could not invert the X and Y axis. Using a joypad was more intuitive for me than keyboard & mouse, but being stuck on the awkward default keybinds in either case meant I kept dying on what I could see was a relatively easy and straightforward mission.

The game ran well for me, but there is a dearth of resolution options (only 1280x720, 1920x1080 and 2560x1440), it doesn't always take kindly to alt-tabbing, and will always start in windowed mode until it remembers you wanted it fullscreen. Most of these are not gamebreaking for me, especially compared to the state of the control scheme, but it ends up coming across as cheap.

Which is a shame, because I feel that there's a good game in there somewhere, but I just cannot get to it. Take a look at this video showing some more gameplay. Do you see how it could be good?

Creator James Smith does say says he's working on adding more control options.

Tross is out now on Steam, for Windows only. It costs £3.99/$4.99/€4.99.

Anyway, I may not be able to play it, but I sure like me some neon. Let's look at these screenshots together and dream of a time when we will all be made of neon lights.

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