The AI is relentless. It is reprogramming itself to wrest control of the station, and it appears on my comms to enlighten me as to what my fate will be. It appears as a “he” and, though polite, he carefully informs me that I am a little more than a virus to him – a bug that must be eradicated. What follows is nothing short of soul-crushing monotony and a host of poorly conceived control and mechanics issues that leave Neon Shadow feeling bogged down and nearly unplayable.
The evil AI has been a staple of sci-fi within the world of entertainment since 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Hal was asked to open the pod bay doors. And yet, despite this well-worn material, the concept itself is rife with opportunity. Think to such classic gaming experiences as the Mother Brain of Chrono Trigger and you’ve got a recipe for multi-genre overlap. Unfortunately, any subject matter is only as good as its execution, and Neon Shadow is executed poorly.
Controls are of the virtual variety, an element that has certainly become common enough to be implemented well. The option to lock the virtual joystick to a static location is helpful enough, but the camera and shooting buttons rest right on top of one another: meaning you’ll either shoot when you wish to move, or vice-versa. Additionally, it is uncomfortable to switch between camera control and firing, and this often results in little choice beyond coming to a complete stop to survey your surroundings.
A learning curve is implied within the framework of today’s modern gaming experiences (especially mobile), but when enemies swarm from multiple directions and make movement impossible, all you can do is stand in one place, hope for the best, and curse your depleting health bar as you frantically try to locate that incoming fire, that ill-intentioned quad-copter, or what appears to be some sort of laser-mounted robotic vacuum cleaner. Read more »