Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
- DAILY REVIEWS -
Neon Drive Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Neon Drive is short, simple and dripping with style. It has a killer soundtrack, some cool level designs and a car that turns into both a robot and fighter jet. The problem is that the two-button gameplay is too shallow, ultimately leading to a repetitive experience that is more interested in blasting you with '80s nostalgia than creating a long-lasting driving game. Neon Drive is the perfect example of style over substance. Rating: 64%
Neon Drive
«
Neon Drive Neon Drive Neon Drive Neon Drive
  • Review Score:

  • B-
There's something magical about the 1980s. Not the real 1980s, that was kind of a shit show. What I'm talking about is the 1980s brought to us by Hollywood in modern movies and on TV. It's the idealized version of the decade; a neon-drenched funhouse where everybody has a fanny pack and men with eyeliner rock their synthesizers at all the best clubs. Neon Drive is a game that snorts a big line of 1980s and spends one sleepless weekend throwing every design cliche you can think of into one of the year's most off-the-wall driving games. But is style alone enough to make up for the shallow gameplay?

As you may have noticed, I didn't call this a "racing games." What we have here is a driving game with rhythm elements. The idea is to steer the car through a four-lane highway and dodge every obstacle that gets in the way. You're basically swerving from one land to the next, making sure not to crash into a wall.


This is an admittedly simple concept, but the developers do interesting things with it. Beyond simply dodging obstacles, every level will switch up the action in one way or another. For example, you'll turn into a jet in one stage and fly around in circles, while another level will flip the perspective and suddenly become a Space Invaders-style shoot-em-up. Every stage has one of these twists on the formula, and I like that they never needed to recycle their ideas.

What this game has going for it is the style. I love how the stages change as you play them and the way they use the neon colors. The game is constantly finding new ways to tweak the concept, such as having us zip past rows of flying cars or seeing our 1980s ride held on a conveyer belt while walls are constructed right in front of us. This is a visual treat that is only topped by the synth-heavy soundtrack. Neon Drive is a game that makes a great first impression.

The problem is that even with all of these tweaks to the concept, you're still limited to only steering left and right. Neon Drive reminds me a lot of Stereo Aereo, a music-theme driving game I reviewed late last year. The difference is that Stereo Aereo has a shooting component that sees us taking on enemies in different ways. Neon Drive isn't interested in expending on the gameplay, it just wants you to steer left and right. I'm not going to lie; it's hard to go back to something this simple after playing Stereo Aereo.

Neon Drive (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It doesn't help that the game is disappointingly short. Neon Drive is split into eight arcade cabinets, each of which has different difficulty options, as well as a free run and practice mode. I was hoping that bumping up the difficulty may add new types of challenges, but what it actually does isn't that interesting. Even without adding to the two-button gameplay, there's still a lot they could have done to create new challenge modes and ways to extend the replay. As it is, you'll have no problem beating the short stages in just a couple of hours.

What frustrates me is how much I love the world the developers have created for Neon Drive. The locations and backgrounds are spectacular, and I spent a lot of my time dreaming about turning each stage into a stylish race course. Sure, there are a lot of great ideas mixed throughout, but they almost feel squandered by being tied to a two-button game. If ever there was a game that needed to be expanded on, this is the one.

Neon Drive is short, simple and dripping with style. It has a killer soundtrack, some cool level designs and a car that turns into both a robot and fighter jet. The problem is that the two-button gameplay is too shallow, ultimately leading to a repetitive experience that is more interested in blasting you with '80s nostalgia than creating a long-lasting driving game. Neon Drive is the perfect example of style over substance.
comments powered by Disqus