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Game Review #212: Neon Caves (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Bradford “TheWaffinator87” E.

Developer: Force of Habit

Publisher: Force of Habit

Category: Arcade, Action, Shooter

Release Date: 3.27.19

Price (at time of review): $3.99

Buy Neon Caves from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


I am going to be very honest for a quick moment before I get this thing rocking and rolling. Until I got the email that I was going to be the one taking a swing at this game and writing about it I had never heard or seen anything about this game. Boy am I glad I was the one that got this game. At first, I was totally getting my rear end handed to me and then I got the hang of it. Neon Caves is everything retro meeting the newer generation.

Just like a lot of retro style arcade shooters you start off engaged in battle. As soon as you click Play from the main menu IT’S ON! Neon Caves is a last-until-you-die game. You go through endless waves of enemies and challenges until you run out of health. Each time you start the game it is randomly generated, meaning don’t try to memorize anything. Between the randomly generated enemies, the random rocks falling on you, and the level randomly caving in on you unless you get all the gold shards, how long can you last?

Shoot and Anchor, Shoot and Anchor.

The controls are like any other true to the core shooter. They are very simple to grasp and there are very few buttons that you need. You have the left thumb stick to move around, A button to fire and move, and ZR to anchor. So, A button as I said not only is your fire button but how you move. When you fire it causes recoil and recoil is how you move. And because it is the recoil that moves you, you move in the opposite direction that you fired. Example; if you are firing to the right you are moving to the left.

Therefore, you must master the art of the anchor. The anchor will hold you in place allowing you to fire in any direction and not move from the recoil. Not only does the anchor save you from recoil but while you are anchored down you can get a score multiplier going. Another reason to master the anchor is because later in the game (later waves) there will be a pad that you can anchor on to regain health. Also, I find it the easiest way to get the gold shards that stop the cave from caving in and starting your next wave.


Anyone remember that game, Lite-Brite? You know the pegboard that you would put colored pegs on and then you could turn a light on inside the board lighting up the pegs you placed. Neon Caves has that very neon wow factor like Lite-Brite. If you don’t remember Lite-Brite maybe you played Pac-Man Champions Edition? That was a good one. It is a Pac-Man game that also had a very bright neon light theme to it. Either way the neon light theme helps this game stand out while still fitting in with other shooters.

The game is played from a bird’s eye view. After a few waves the scenery seems to move with you as you move around really upping the challenge. As for the sweet, sweet retro sound effects and background music the composer of the game is pure genius. Everything from the firing sound effect to the 16/32-bit style explosion noises when blasting enemies, if you were to close your eyes and only listen to the game play you would feel like you are right at the arcades or playing SNES, or Sega. The very eye appealing neon gameplay, similar to the nostalgic shooters like say Galaga, was my favorite aspect of the game and why I think I am slightly addicted.

Wrapping Up

I know I haven’t said much about this game compared to other reviews, but sometimes less is more and this is an example of that. This game is a gem and I feel like a must-have if you are into old school shooters or arcade games. This game will speak for itself when you play it and see what I see. It was totally new to me and as you may know I am very competitive so on top of the feels it gave me in the retro aspect, I love the fact it has an online leader board. It also has a built-in achievement section, and I keep saying I wish Switch had a “Gamerscore” type system so I rather enjoy the self-satisfaction of achieving goals.

I am already pushing myself to reach at least the top 3, I am currently number 7. I will not rest until I reach top 3 - this game is not the average type of game I play so if I can reach at least the top 3 I will be very proud of myself. This game is addicting, bright, old school, and one heck of a challenge. Will I see your name at the top?

Score: 8.5/10

Buy Neon Caves from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Force of Habit

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