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Game Review #308: Neon Junctions (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Shaun Hughes

Developer: 9 Eyes Game Studio

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Category: Adventure, Arcade, First-Person, Puzzle

Release Date: 06.07.2019

Price (At Time of Review): $4.99

Buy Neon Junctions from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

It was acceptable in the 80’s…

With a synth-filled, 80’s-inspired soundtrack and a vibrant, neon-lit aesthetic, the 9 Eyes Game Studio-developed title, Neon Junctions, has all the makings of an excellent puzzle-platformer. Not one to be influenced by my musical tastes and poor sense of fashion, I was keen to see whether this was a case of style over substance, or something that promised a little more.

Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

Traversing cyberspace from a first-person perspective, Neon Junctions has you attempting to overcome 34 levels varying in both difficulty and creative nuance. The main crux of the puzzles relies on your ability to collect conductive boxes using the R button and then re-distributing them in circuitry around the landscape using L. By doing so, you ensure that the energy emanating from an orange orb travels through the circuit to the end goal: your transport out of the level.

Capture and move conductive cubes, close electrical circuits and restore power of the interactive objects around you to get to the teleportation plant which is able to take you to the next level of the game!

After approximately two and a half hours worth of game time, I had mastered the 34 levels on offer here with relative ease. Some of the levels took 30 seconds whilst others a couple of minutes, and what struck me most was the lack of continuity between levels. No sooner was an innovative idea introduced into a level than it was gone the next.

As well as this, the level of challenge was only ever altered by way of a left-field attempt to make it more difficult. Whilst I cannot divulge what these are as it would spoil it for the player, there was no indication on some levels that it was even an option to do what I did. This could be deemed both a positive and a negative, but ultimately it led to a few instances of trial and error in a game that shouldn’t have needed to use this strategy to make it more puzzling.

I did find, however, that the layout of the levels themselves were excellent, and ensured that there was something to explore before mindlessly maneuvering the cubes. I also felt that the opportunity to collect the cubes from afar by ensuring the cursor was in line with it made the game much more accessible. This could have been a way to increase the difficulty i.e. you have to physically collect the cubes by standing near them, but it worked well for fast-paced problem solving.

I know you are but what am I?

It was a shame to see the creative potential of the title fail to be capitalized upon. My hope for a progressively more challenging experience was also not realised. I found the game to develop at the same rate as my aptitude for the game, with only the last couple of levels stopping me in my tracks for any notable length of time.

That being said, Ratalaika Games have published a game that is rather enjoyable. The combination of puzzle and platformer was well-executed and I finished the game wishing there was more. This is a testament to what has been crafted, and I saw real glimpses of what could have been. There were fleeting moments where I was impressed by the required solution to the problem, but these were few and far between.

I’ll Be Back…

For the entry fee, Neon Junctions is a game well worth playing. It represents good value for money, and my main critique is only that I wanted more: more challenge, more variety, and more levels. If a sequel or additional DLC was announced, I would be keen to see where the team take the concept next.

Score: 6/10

Buy Neon Junctions from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Ratalaika Games

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