Last year Finland-based-development studio 10tons released Neon Chrome, a top-down cyberpunk sci-fi styled twin-stick-shooter, onto a variety of platforms; and now this charmingly difficult game has arrived onto Nintendo’s hybrid console – the Nintendo Switch! Is this a good thing? Well that all depends if you like Twin-Stick-Shooters; but there is no denying that Neon Chrome finds itself as a welcome addition to the Nintendo hybrid console.
On the surface, it’s a top-down cyberpunk twin-stick shooter with an interesting voiced story that unravels as you progress your way through the levels. Each level is randomly generated and contains lots of goodies for you to find like new guns and enhancements that you can graft onto your character to change the way they play.
In Neon Chrome players take control of a randomly generated character known as an Asset and they must fight through thirty levels in order to reach the facilities boss known as the overseer. It sounds like a simplistic challenge; but in actuality it is anything but easy. The difficult aspect of this challenge is that all thirty levels, and the final boss fight, must be completed within a single attempt because if not then the whole game will change; quite literally. Players who end up dying will not only have to start from a restrictive set of starting points, with more becoming available as you progress higher up the building; but the entire game world will change around you.
That’s right, Neon Chrome offers randomized levels; with each map being randomly generated upon completion or death. That’s not all either; as upon re-spawning from death you will have to choose a completely different asset (character) which will have a different weapon ability and load out to the one you previously used. This is what makes Neon Chrome so challenging and refreshing to play; it offers a completely new way to play a game each time you die. Of course, to some this may be an aggravating feature to include but fear not as thanks to asset upgrades, unlockable weapons and ability perks you can customize your ‘general’ asset however you please. It’s at this point that you understand what Neon Chrome is all about. It’s not necessarily about rushing to defeat the overseer in the shortest possible time; it’s more about discovering the different enemy types, earning money and using that experience to upgrade your assets abilities so that completing the objective in a single play through is achievable
Generally, weapons cannot be upgraded; but upgraded weapon types can be found in the field or purchased in the hub world and equipped at your desire; however only one weapon at a time can be carried – so choosing an effective weapon is critical if you wish to proceed forward. While weapons and abilities cannot be upgraded you can upgrade your asset (character) which in turn it gives your asset more health, higher damage and additional slots for perks and support abilities to be equipped.
The music of Neon Chrome is unexpectedly a bright spot. Synthesizer heavy, the soundtrack changes itself depending on the level of action going on, but never feels out of place. Sound effects deliver the necessary bombastic level of mayhem for combat but ultimately doesn’t deliver anything extraordinary. Ambient sounds like elevator music or rain falling are nice additions but are only noticeable on the quietest of levels.
Neon Chrome is a very competent twin-stick shooter that is most enjoyable with a couch-full of friends. No online multiplayer feels like a missed opportunity, but the title is enjoyable nonetheless. That Neon Chrome prizes style over substance reflects the bright nature of its name but left me wanting more, this gets the Kasanova Seal of Approval.