What goes best with a shiny new console? An equally shiny twin-stick shooter. No, really! Clue’s in the title.
When we originally reviewed the PC version of Neon Chrome mid-last year, we dubbed it “fast, frantic and hairy”, offering up players an experience that “will undoubtedly keep you coming back for more”. And while it shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to learn that the top-down, stylish shooting nature of the game remains largely unchanged for this new release, Neon Chrome acts as an exciting shot of cyberpunk cynicism mature Switch owners shouldn’t overlook.
Set within a totalitarian dystopia, you’d be hard-pressed to ignore just how cool Neon Chrome actually is – at least aesthetically. Expertly balancing style and substance, any lover of sci-fi is sure to fall in love with Neon Chrome’s purple-drenched world, being the perfect backdrop in which to wreak havoc and hone your twin-stick shooting skills. If Blade Runner had a baby with The Raid, this would be it.
You see, much more than just an abstract title, Neon Chrome takes its name from the titular mega-structure you’re tasked with working your way up; dodging, firing, and blasting your way through a near-limitless supply of randomised rooms. Acquiring further upgrades and light-infused weapons as you go, the game’s rogue-like nature can be as punishing as it is rewarding. Anyone looking for a challenge is sure to find one largely due to Neon Chrome’s severe lack of checkpoints. But really, when considering your mission to take down an overly corrupt corporation, it all seems rather fitting contextually.
The main way Neon Chrome holds your attention to completion outside of responsive control is in its presentation and mood. Each time you start a new run it’s hard not to bask in the LED-like neon signs outside, the rain beating off them, and the overall contrasts of light and dark. Such detail hasn’t been lost in the translation of this Switch port, with Neon Chrome always visually popping. Possibly even more so than when the game similarly infected its way onto the PlayStation Vita’s OLED screen mere months ago.
The Switch has served as a nice place to “portable-ise”- for the lack of a better term – relatively strong experiences previously found on other platforms for a while now, and Neon Chrome similarly fares well here. Short burst play sessions capable of being suspended simply makes sense for this heated twin-stick style of play, and as the Switch’s first of this kind, Neon Chrome feels good to handle under the thumbs.
To be frank it’s nice to see such a serious yet still dangerously addictive title as Neon Chrome find its way over to Nintendo’s new platform, signifying moreso the house of Mario’s willingness to cater for all kinds of audiences. Outside of the Metroid series, games with a more brooding tone and atmosphere were a dime a dozen on prior Nintendo consoles, and though a contained experience, Neon Chrome holds its own in this regard.
An acute combination of continually fresh level sets along with the Switch’s built-in rest mode means I can easily see Neon Chrome holding a regular spot on my Switch’s dashboard for quite some time. Running the game’s tough but fulfilling gauntlet never ceased to thrill me when docked or on-the-go, and with the likelihood of any Housemarque’s titles coming to the platform currently sitting at nil, Neon Chrome is a more than serviceable twin-stick shooter.