WHAT I’VE BEEN PLAYING: Neon Chrome

Neon Chrome has been getting plenty of play on my PC as of late.

You’ll find over time that there are some games such as Battlefield 2 and Star Wars Battlefront II that I can play almost daily and never grow tired of it. But between playing those games are other games that I like to dive into and depending on what my interest is at the time, can represent any genre. One game that has received more time lately is Neon Chrome.

According to the game’s main website, Neon Chrome is a “ruthless top-down cyberpunk shooter with rogue-like elements.” The indie title was released in 2016. This year has been the year of the rogue-like and rogue-lite for me. Being open to the new genres has allowed me to discover tons of fun games that I would have never played in the past. One of the first things I had to wrap my mind around was the idea that death actually can make my character stronger rather than just be the end of my progress. What my experiences in gaming had taught me before was that staying alive was the way to grow stronger. Think pretty much any of the Super Mario Bros. games. There was nothing beneficial in death. All it meant was “Game Over” and suffering loss. Rogue-like games such as Neon Chrome show how death can be used to extend the life of a game and also allow the player to benefit. It sounds weird but as you immerse yourself in a rogue-like world, it makes sense.

The graphical style won’t come close to winning any awards in 2020 but I honestly really dig it. Neon Chrome presents a compelling atmosphere with a good look, adrenaline-pumping music that fits the game, and some solid action. It delivers on what it sets out to do and doesn’t seek to be anything outside of that. 10tons did some really good work on this game. The company came to prominence in 2003 with the release of Crimsonland and has been developing and publishing games for nearly two decades now. Jydge and Tesla vs Lovecraft are two other games from the publisher currently in my library.

Getting the drop on enemies is one of the most satisfying endeavors in Neon Chrome.

What I dig most about Neon Chrome is the diversity with its weapons and abilities, the challenge of leveling up enough to proceed in the game, as well as the procedural generation of the its levels. Without spoiling the fun, the weapons and abilities allow you to cause some delightful mayhem. What’s even better is that many parts of the level are destructible. At some points, do not be surprised if to see bodies and debris scattered everywhere. Due to how slick and clean the levels are presented when you first come out of the elevator, the destruction has an impact.

In regards to the challenge, good luck in attempting to beat the game through a single playthrough. For one, it’s not going to happen. Neon Chrome isn’t meant to be played that way. Secondly, one run won’t allow you to unlock all of the goodies in the game. This is a game where you will be doing multiple runs but the cool part is that it allow you the chance to get better at the game. And although it has tons of action, Neon Chrome is not a game that you just go into with guns blazing on every level. It requires strategy as well, meaning that it is better at times to hide behind objects, flank enemies and take time to plan a course of action. Neon Chrome rewards gamers for playing smart. Otherwise, the game will seem insurmountable.

The procedural generation of its levels allows Neon Chrome to remain unpredictable. That means that each run will force you to take different approaches to advance through the levels. In essence, Neon Chrome wants the player to understand that gaining mastery over the game’s controls and mechanics is far more important than memorizing where the layout of the levels. I like and prefer this approach for the type of game that Neon Chrome is. It works extremely well and presents a feeling of freshness each time I boot the game up.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of procedurally generated levels to get through in Neon Chrome.

So far, I’ve only advanced up to the last set of floors before the boss battle with Overseer 1.0. The boss battles can be challenging if you haven’t familiarized yourself with how the game works, leveled yourself up by unlocking new weapons and abilities, or equipped yourself properly. Neon Chrome gives you a lot to work with to help you accomplish your tasks. Once you discover that, the game becomes more fun and things just begin to flow. That’s what I’ve found for myself up to this point.

From what I’ve seen, I definitely recommend Neon Chrome for anyone who is into top-down shooters and rogue-like games. You do need to be up for a challenge though and be willing to implement strategy into how you play. Lastly, you will need to accept that in this type of game, death is not the end but the beginning. So far, I’m having a great time.

-TVGA

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