The Good, the Bad and the Bugly…
If there’s a phrase that could best describe Neon Abyss in the briefest of terms, “pew pew pew” would’ve been in the top of my list. And to give my own personal definition to the phrase, “pew pew pew” simply means an over-the-top gun-blazing run-and-gun shooter that may or may not be a side-scroller but could also be a roguelite if needed and that is what Neon Abyss is like.
It gives an absurd level of humour with its guns and special skills that every iteration of a fresh run never really felt dry and repetitive. The amount of love that went to its overall design is proof enough to an impressively good game.
And for this reason, is what it makes it even more frustrating that a game that is as good and as fun can be as broken and infuriating when it decides to cut your run short due to its game-breaking bugs and glitches. From the infinite pitch-black screen that haunts my every move to the game-breaking glitches that could either disintegrate or immobilize my toon.
The amount of times I had to go back to square one far outweighs my love for its amazing gameplay elements when I’m always reminded that I may not even finish this when the game decides to fuck me up out of nowhere and without warning whatsoever.
FUN is spelled with a K
Neon Abyss is the very definition of funk. Giving an old genre of gaming with its own twist of neon lights, jaw-dropping guns and gameplay elements that spices up the genre to be as badass and as funky as it is. The moment you step into the world, you are met with a barista, a groovy DJ and a hole in the ground that takes you to a neon-lighted abyss filled with monsters and treasures to plunder. And if you ever played Rogue Legacy, it’s pretty much that but a lot more emphasis on the guns you’ll obtain in the abyss and the skills you’ll grab along the way.
And unlike Rogue Legacy, you’ll be choosing from one of two unique characters with more of them being unlocked later with enough gems you find from slaying the bosses. The world is also procedurally generated and contains multiple rooms of different shapes and sizes filled with monsters to fight, secrets to find and treasures to obtain that goes from the petite and simple to the crazy and overpowered.
One run I found myself with an incredibly powerful gun that shoots multiple different types of bullets in quick succession and as I move from room to room plundering every nook and cranny, from just a handful of bullets, I soon end up shooting hundreds and melting enemies as quick as I can blink. It’s as crazy as it sounds and believe me I found myself immediately hooked to what it offered right then and there. And given that was just one of many runs, I found myself with a rather weird piece of weaponry a few runs later that while it didn’t seem like a lot, I end up loving it due to how the guns and the special skills go hand in hand.
What’s crazy with the combination of a rotating laser gun that deals melee damage and a skill that has a chance to spawn an egg from melee kills is the number of eggs you’ll get until you have like a 10 foot-long egg-train following you to every room in the abyss. And these eggs when hatched successfully also offer some impressive buffs to your toon whether it’s taking damage for you, shooting enemies or changing hearts into shields to beef you up for the next fight.
There’s never a dull moment and considering how much stuff there is to find and secrets to explore, every run is special in its own way that I find myself coming back time and time again despite its issues. I still hate that it happens though especially when it does on some pretty good runs such as the time I got a buff that makes my shots explode and a helmet that negates the damage I take from explosions.
When it comes to its overall world and level design though, it doesn’t come with the kind of pizzazz that high budget games are known for especially when a few seconds later, everything’s going to be filled with a lot of bullets that take half or the entirety of the screen anyway. The over-the-top bullet particles from your own gun literally swallows the entire screen whole and this is something that ends up becoming a bit too much to be honest especially when you’ll barely see everything else including enemy bullets and projectiles that could possibly kill you in the process.
Still, it does come with its own challenges from every room whether it’s from the traps that shoots lasers at you, rotating spiked balls and other environmental hazards. There’s a handful of secrets that can only be accessed by using bombs while others need crystals or keys, multiple air jumps and the like to get what they offer. You’ll never know what you’ll get and the beauty of that is your always thinking if it’s worth using your resources to access these secrets.
Its controls do take a bit of getting used to at first considering that you’ll mostly be on both thumbsticks to move while another to shoot. Thankfully enough the game also comes with customizable button layouts so you can remap your jump button to either triggers or both of them should you wish which is something that I really hope more games take into consideration, so we’re not always bound to use the button assignment on the PlayStation console that only works for one game at a time.
Overall, Neon Abyss is an extremely fun game that can easily be one of my favourite games this year if it didn’t come with the bugs that plague it. It’s something that I hope gets fixed very soon as being a roguelite that has game-breaking bugs can easily spell disaster in the long run. I would highly recommend it to anyone that consumes games in quick bursts but also to anyone that would just love to spend hours into a fast-paced and frenetic side-scrolling shooter if it didn’t have any of the bugs in the first place. So, for now, this is something that I would recommend to hold off until a few more patches.
Neon Abyss is available on the following Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game.
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Combining furious run ‘n’ gun action and deep, roguelike mechanics, Neon Abyss pits you as a member of ‘Grim Squad’ – a task force set-up by Hades himself to infiltrate the Abyss and defeat the New Gods. Death is not the end as every time you die, you’ll find yourself more empowered than before.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 15.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut