Neon Abyss from Team 17 and Veewo Games is a roguelike platform shooter. Players will take on the role of a member of the “Grim Squad”, an elite task force set up by Hades to quell an uprising by the New Gods.
Neon Abyss certainly lives up to its name and the game features a tonne of neon lighting throughout the randomly generated levels. Does it do enough to keep fans of action-platformers satiated though?
At the start of the game, Titan Corp’s Hades offers you a drink and within seconds of accepting it, you’re plunged into the depths of the “Neon Abyss”. Players will fight their way across randomly generated levels consisting of interconnected rooms filled with enemies and powerful pick-ups. There’s also environmental hazards and lots of destructible objects such as crates, explosive barrels and stone blocks.
As you progress through the levels, you will move with the left Joycon analog stick and shoot with the right Joycon analog stick. Gameplay is super simple and thankfully running, jumping and shooting is incredibly easy.
The real challenge in Neon Abyss comes in the form of the various types of enemies you will face off against and against the environmental hazards presented to you. Scattered throughout the levels you traverse you will find items which augment your playable character with abilities such as being able to double jump, fire rockets, run faster and so on.
Players will also be able to change their default weapon upon finding a new weapon in game. There’s a vast range of weaponry on offer in-game with a lot of guns having some incredibly satisfying special abilities.
You can for example find a weapon that fires out a homing beam of energy or a weapon that fires a rather chunky energy ball that can bounce. The weapon types and variations are great and when combined with the roguelike elements of the game, it ensures that each run through the abyss itself is uniquely fun.
I’d like to speak to the Manager
Upon finding the boss room in a level, players will face off against a larger enemy themed after something from modern pop culture. There’s a boss based on a fast food chain, and another one that references Bitcoin for example.
There are a handful of these bosses on offer in Neon Abyss and there is enough variation with them to keep you entertained.
However, there is a major caveat in that after a couple of hours of playing, you’d have seen them all and some can be a lot more annoying than others to deal with. When you successfully reach the end of your abyss run, there’s a “Manager” to face off against.
Unfortunately though there’s only five major “Managers” to defeat in the game and this is slightly disappointing. The “Managers” are the overarching super bosses and while they do offer up quite a challenge, it was severely disappointing to see that upon defeating them, no more significant variation in level or environment design was added to the game.
Neon Abyss also employs an interesting gameplay mechanic which involves players picking up unhatched eggs. After clearing enough abyss rooms, an egg will eventually hatch into a creature or “pet” that follows you around. These pets each come with their own abilities and can evolve over time into stronger, more powerful versions of themselves.
The game encourages you to delve deeper and go further with each abyss run. Upon defeating bosses and clearing levels, you will unlock a form of currency which can be used to purchase additional upgrades and even new playable characters. There’s also secret hidden rooms and mini-games such as playing a giant room sized piano.
Graphically, Neon Abyss looks great with a retro-futuristic aesthetic filled with flashy effects. The lack of environmental variation however is a major letdown and after a couple hours of gameplay, players will start to feel location fatigue since abyss rooms are very same-y despite being randomly generated.
The soundtrack used in Neon Abyss is excellent with very catchy level themes playing in the background. The adrenaline pumping boss battle music suits the game’s frantic pace quite well too.
Neon Abyss is overall a very fun game thanks to the roguelike elements of making every single run unique. Thanks to the multiple different types of pickups and weapons there is a lot of longevity here if you don’t mind some repetition.
However, Neon Abyss stumbles somewhat in that right now the game is filled with a lot of bugs. More than once a black screen error occurred while playing the game on Nintendo Switch. There’s also considerable slowdown and frame drops in gameplay when the screen is filled with bullets and other projectiles.
If you can handle repetition and want a roguelike to keep you busy for short bursts, Neon Abyss will definitely appeal to you. However, there are other games in the genre that exist that do a better job overall. We suggest trying out the demo first and seeing if you like it or not.