Best of January 2022

Neon Abyss

Release Year: 2020

Developer: Veewo Games

Publisher: Team 17

Genre: Roguelite Action-Platformer 

Platforms: PC (Steam), Switch, PS4, XBox1

Demo: Yes (Steam)

Ep. 01 - Neon Abyss

A real powerhouse of action, sound and progression, with more than a sprinkle of fun! It had a lot of competition for sure, but ultimately the overall quality plus the fun gameplay made this my personal number one this month.

Let's start at the beginning though. A dimly lit room, bass-heavy beats thumping in the background: An odd character telling you a story. A very short one. Suddenly! You have a gun, a portal and a LOT to explore! Clearing room after room, you shoot and loot your way to a boss fight, while being taught the essential controls and mechanics of the game on the fly. After clearing a stage or two, you find yourself in possession of ...well... a whole lot of new stuff! A gun that is also a cat, flying eggs that are hatching into....something else? Just go with it for now. It is not just jump and shoot though, you can chug grenades, hoard keys and gold as well as health and crystals which double as a secondary currency in shops and special rooms and you can go and hunt hidden doors!

Flowing with the games dynamic is a mostly fine chip-tune, upbeat head-nodding soundtrack playing along in the background. While you go about your shooting and jumping you notice, that the game is not 100% linear, quite the opposite. You can choose to rush the boss as soon as you find them or loot, shoot and shop some more to get powered up properly! Ultimately you will get kicked in the butt at some point. You are revived, by the power of magic and stuff, near a dance floor chatting to a barkeeper. 'Sure, just tell me where my power-ups are!' you say.

The progression system is rewarding, but could offer a bit more choice to satisfy players looking for more depth. There is a decent amount of randomness involved, which I personally did not find irritating or fun-stopping at all. Every time you meet your demise you get enough of that motivational juice to keep wanting 'just one more (gun)run'. What might be a caveat for some: If you are inclined to '100%' this, you are in for a grind, 6 characters want you to beat every boss! That is not bad as such, but might lower expectations a bit.

The games graphics work very well for the type of game, although some effects can make it hard to identify what is going on. The controls are precise for platforming, as well as shooting your way through various enemies (tested with xbox style controller). Lots of accessibility options should make getting into this game super enjoyable for most players. Difficulty can be adjusted and the general progression offered gives you options to try the game in your favourite gameplay style.