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Neon Abyss | "Run and Gungeon"


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- Roguelike

- Action platformer

- 2D pixel art

- Synthwave soundtrack

- Absolutely brilliant.

 

It's basically Enter the Gungeon as a run and gun but it's already hitting the spot for me more like Isaac did. I would put it down to two things - generosity of items and cool synergies. It might not get quite as crazy (from what I've seen in the first couple of hours) but you constantly feel like you're upgrading and getting something interesting from each floor. The core gameplay is also fun even when you're starting off, which tends to be a common failing with these games.

 

On the surface, it's doing nothing new and that's probably true throughout but the execution is superb. I've just taken down the first 'manager' to open up a new area and I had a great time with it. I picked up a weapon early on, Meteor, which does very little damage but shoots a wide array of little bullets which have pushback. At the end of the first floor I got a coins=damage upgrade, OK. No big deal but I had forty or so, and I could feel the difference. Two floors later, I picked up a lucky item which gave me 777 coins and in the next room an item which doubled my bullets fired. Now I'm bombarding every screen with golf ball sized bullets and nothing can get near. That's just inherently great fun for me. 

 

I'm not a massive fan of the genre really, Isaac is at the very top by miles, Dead Cells is somewhere down the ladder with all the rest near the bottom rung. This is very very promising though, and I'm really looking forward to putting in a good few hours to see how it develops. 

 

It's on Game Pass as of today and also available on Switch, PS4 and Steam. 

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I know the name is also generic as it comes and everything about this game will seem somewhat familiar if you've played any of the big roguelikes/lites, but this has basically consumed my entire day off. What a cracker. 

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It looks and sounds lovely. I love the style of it. I’ve only played half an hour on the Xbox(via game pass)but tempted to double dip and also buy on the Switch. There’s a demo too, so I’m going to see how it plays with my (aging) joy-cons first. 

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I like this a lot but the controls on Switch in handheld mode are not the greatest. It's not the game's fault, maybe not even the Switch's but I just can't get really get this type of twin stick control to work comfortably on the joycons (It doesn't help I also have some stick drift).

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Is there any permanent progression to this, or is it one of these half baked Indies that flatters to deceive. Or, expressed differently, does it grip you like something like Slay the Spire or Spelumky does? 

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Permanent progression.

 

I tried the demo the other night, and I have to say, I wasn't feeling it.
It felt pedestrian, too slow and generic. Didn't excite me at all. Are there extra difficulty modes in the full release? Maybe it takes a while to get going.


If you're not a fan of 2D platform shooters with roguelite elements, I'd be very surprised if this was the game that changed your mind.

I was bored before the end of my run the other night, which is never a good sign.


Happy to give it another bash to see if it's a grower though. Maybe it'd work as a nice relaxing end of the night game.
Maybe the demo isn't a good representation. I'll definitely give it another chance. Some of these games treat you with kid gloves on your first run, don't they? It's more like a tutorial?

 

If nothing else you've reminded me of a couple of similar games that I bought in early access that I haven't fired up for a long time.

Fury Unleashed is out now proper, my google fu is on point considering they changed the games piggin' name since I last played it!

and Spirits Abyss was delightful straight out the gate, will be very interesting to see how that's evolved.

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I guess the nature of it is that you may well get a boring run, think the game is boring and drop it. I started off with half a dozen quite different runs with a couple where I was well powered up and some cool things were happening. I spent another couple of hours in the evening and only had one or two runs that were as interesting. Also, as I say, I could largely take or leave the whole genre besides Isaac so I don't have any great fatigue or much to compare it to besides a couple of runs here and there on some other stuff I found boring. 

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18 minutes ago, Stanshall said:

I could largely take or leave the whole genre

 

You don't mean that. You're overtired.

Roguelites are such a broad church nowadays.

You can say that you don't like roguelite elements, but you probably do, if you think about it.

 

I remember picking up some gun that shot like 1 bullet every 5 seconds, that might have made it a bit boring. I'll give it another go. We can work this out.

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The current run I'm on is kind of hilarious. I have a ninja costume which increases mêlée and adds a second jump, a gun where the bullets split into homing bullets, two extra heart containers and a slew of junk that drops shit occasionally.

 

Not a fan of all the places you can't access because the game hasn't given you grenades or the like. Happens way too often. But whatever.

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It's more than none of them besides Isaac (300h) and Dead Cells (20h?) have ever kept me coming back for very long. Flinthook was quite good. Risk of Rain was intermittently fun and crushing. I like the idea of them, I love synergies and RNG and permanent progression, I just rarely find one that plays well to my tastes. I know that Spelunky may well be the GOAT but I've never had that moment with it that's given me the taste for more. If the sequel comes to the Switch...I also do prefer these in handheld, great downtime on the couch fodder. 

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I just got my first total fuckdown run. I was absolutely romping through, got the Cat gun, a few things which boost fire rate and power through coins and eggs and I was absolutely stacked with both. Had split bullets and multiple upgrades so it was just a constant stream of massive fish bones splintering into more massive fish bones. I decided to gamble on some weapon in the devil room. Fired rocket launchers and I lasted about half a second before it annihilated everything in the room, including me. 

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This is very good but hasn't quite clicked with me.

 

My benchmark is Enter the Gungeon. I love that game - I'm sure I've put hundreds of hours into it.
I've only played a couple of hours of this. I just got round to whacking Argus.

 

The level layouts feel repetitive and bad guys are a bit boring compared to EnterTG - particularly the bosses... none so far have been inspiring.
I kinda like the eggs, but it also feels much more random than strategic.
Some variety in the guns, but not as playful as EnterTG.
I'd like to know what I'm buying in the shop before I pay.

I'm missing the dodge roll as a game mechanic!

 

Having said that, I like it better than Exit the Gungeon- that game was too hard and ditched the exploration/strategy bit - this has the structure I was hoping ExitTG would have. If it had all the Enter guns, lore and pickups then that'd be perfect.

 

The permanent progression thing is cute. I like that, and it looks like there's a good cast of playable characters.

 

I'm very willing to put more time in, and I hope it reveals itself more. I also appreciate that EnterTG has had quite a few big updates, so maybe they'll do that too :)

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What does permanent progression mean in this game? Is it like Enter the Gungeon or Isaac where you're unlocking items and stuff that you can access on new runs or is it more like Rogue Legacy where you're improving stats and making it easier to complete subsequent runs?

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@donpeartree

 

The former, you're adding to the pool, yep. It does quite a cool thing though in that when you first unlock a new item set, it gives you them 'to try for free' on your next run so you can start off with a leg up. I like that. 

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This is great, but the fact that you can’t remap jump to the button that’s jump in pretty much every other game in the known universe is an almost unprecedented oversight, particularly seeing as remapping buttons IS an option!

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Just now, Eighthours said:

This is great, but the fact that you can’t remap jump to the button that’s jump in pretty much every other game in the known universe is an almost unprecedented oversight, particularly seeing as remapping buttons IS an option!

 

I thought about this, and it's surely because you need your right thumb to shoot with. That's the only reason I can think of outside it being a bug.

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2 hours ago, donpeartree said:

What does permanent progression mean in this game? Is it like Enter the Gungeon or Isaac where you're unlocking items and stuff that you can access on new runs or is it more like Rogue Legacy where you're improving stats and making it easier to complete subsequent runs?

Once you’ve unlocked certain specialised rooms (piano/ dance etc) then they get put into the layout algorithm on your next run, and also I swear since I’ve unlocked a few more things some new enemies have also surfaced (since I was doing runs of 4th manager before I figured out how to solve it) which I never saw before.

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^ That's encouraging.

 

Also, one thing I do love is that you get a seed for your run - so you can play it again, or share it.
Not sure how that works if you've got different stuff unlocked to the person who supplied the seed?

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1 hour ago, Eighthours said:

This is great, but the fact that you can’t remap jump to the button that’s jump in pretty much every other game in the known universe is an almost unprecedented oversight, particularly seeing as remapping buttons IS an option!

Surely in a game where you are running and gunning with the right stick, the only place jump should be is on a trigger. 

 

I mean, you're right, you should be able to map the controls where you want. But L2 (or L1) is the only place that really makes sense for most people.

 

Edit: it's also fairly standard to have presets for "bumper jumper" in FPS games for that same reason - so you can aim while jumping in games where mobility is important.

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Like most in this thread I'm a fan of EtG but found it a smidge too hard (only got to level 4 twice), this seems to be better balanced.

 

I've only had a few runs and beat the first manager, but most weapons I pick up seem to be not as good as the default one? Like they fire much slower or do something funky that isn't just killing the enemies dead. Also some enemies teleport on top of you?

 

Like this a lot, and I like that it has difficulty settings.

 

Getting a lot of slowdown on bosses though, fuck that.

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40 minutes ago, ABenevolentGod said:

... Getting a lot of slowdown on bosses though, fuck that.

Is this the Nintendo Switch version?

Because I was going to mention it before, but it’s horrendous. Even on the demo it was bad and I think the week the demo dropped Team 17 held a AMA on reddit, one person asked whether the slow down would be fixed and they replied ‘yes’...

 

Well.

 

I’m not saying it’s N64 Perfect Dark level’s, but golly, it’s not pretty.

 

If anyone has been through the other console versions, I presume they’re more stable?

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23 hours ago, bradigor said:

I love this game, right up there with Binding of Issac for me. 

 

https://www.mentalhealthgaming.com/neon-abyss-review/

 

 

That's a cracking review and rarely have someone sold me a game quicker than you just did. I'd never even heard about it until this thread and when I saw your review just now I've decided to buy it as soon as I get home tonight. 

Does anyone know if there are any performance issues/limitations on the Switch version?

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16 hours ago, Eighthours said:

This is great, but the fact that you can’t remap jump to the button that’s jump in pretty much every other game in the known universe is an almost unprecedented oversight, particularly seeing as remapping buttons IS an option!

A bit of a faff but if you're playing on Xbox One then you can use the Xbox Accessories app to override the in game button mappings. 

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