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Game Review #545: Neon Abyss (Nintendo Switch)

Review by: Frank Wood @WoodmanFLG

Developer: Veewo Games

Publisher: Team17

Category: Run and Gun, Roguelike, platformer

Release Date: July 14, 2020

Price: $19.99

Watch the Trailer

Buy Neon Abyss from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

A Neon Nightmare

Fresh off the ultra hype of Exit the Gungeon, I was chomping at the bit for some more crazy platforming action with a roguelike twist, and I was pretty excited when I found out about this then-upcoming title! Neon Abyss follows a similar gameplay style, with its own twist. You will be running around randomly generated dungeons, collecting power ups and uncovering secrets as you blast enemies away with your arsenal of crazy guns, like cats that shoot exploding fishbone bullets, homing rockets, giant laser guns and more. You are going to need it, because this game has some real tough opposition here, and you are missing those sweet sweet invincibility frames that made Exit The Gungeon’s screen-filling hails of bullets much more manageable.

You work out of a bar of sorts called Neon Abyss, put together by Hades into the “Grim Squad”, from there you can select different characters, use upgrade points to unlock new rooms and items for the dungeons, and after all that, and maybe a quick dance party, you will jump down into the Abyss. A neon-laden abyss, of course. Once you land, you will be able to move around the level of your own agency, as you collect items like keys, health, shields and of course, grenades in order to break stone and find hidden passageways! I felt like the old days of roguelike yore, managing all my resources like in Binding of Isaac, combined with the frustration of a locked door with NO key available, but of course more often than not I ended up with an excess of such supplies by the end, due to a lot of items you can acquire having an effect of “ If you do this ___, then you spawn a grenade/key/heart”, so as long as you have a little luck with items, resource management shouldn’t be TOO hard, as long as the gods of RNG don’t decide they hate you today.

One Big Sewer Level

Speaking of that…. It seems 90% of items are some variation of the above, or just your weapon is stronger, or your bullets fly faster. It left me wanting more variety in effects, as some of my favorite roguelike moments are unexpected synergy between crazy items you happened to get, coming together to really have you kick ass. At first I was impressed with the weapons, but they kind of cap off the types pretty quickly, and I wasn't rapidly getting more kinds of weapons that rewarded experimentation. It turned into a race to find an explosive or a weapon with nearly no travel time every time, instead of me picking up everything I could to try out new combos, which also goes back to my comment about the lack of item variety. Variety seems to be an issue overall here, because even with the gameplay being good, I kept falling into the same kind of gameplay loop on all of my runs.

They have a pet system with hatching eggs that feels very poorly explained. They can provide various positive or negative effects, and can also evolve to be stronger. I did enjoy the multiple routes to big bosses, which kept it fresh, but that's when I ran into another variety-based problem. All the dungeons look the same pretty much, with very little variation. So many sewers with the occasional neon sign, it really started to get boring. Your first few times with the various mini bosses is fun, but you pretty quickly run into the same problem there, there are only a few of them. This game's core is really good, but it could really use some more content, and invincibility frames haha. I hope the devs support this game, and add some more stuff into it. There is already a 2 character DLC pack, so there is hope! Neon Abyss is a fun run and gun roguelike that could do with some love, but for 20 bucks it's not too bad, it just feels like a case of a little wasted potential if they don’t add more content.

Score: 6/10

Buy Neon Abyss from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.

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*A game code was provided for review purposes.

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