Neon Abyss Xbox One review: go ahead and dive in

We’ve seen enough roguelike shooters make their way onto digital shops over the past few months, it can be easy to miss out on certain ones. Neon Abyss is one of them, a game with an interesting name – can you really light up an entire abyss with neon signs? – and a lot of fun under the hood. The real question is finding that hook that makes you stick with it in the long run. Fortunately, I did.

The game doesn’t have much story to speak of, and most of its elements seem borrowed from other games, particularly Enter the Gungeon (with its teleport system) and even a hint of The Binding of Isaac (with finding “followers” that provide enhancements). But Team 17 and its developer, VEEWO Games, pack enough goodness to overcome some of the “borrowing” from other games and make this one feel like its own. Especially as you begin discovering the hidden stuff while digging deeper.

There’s an Abyss of Danger Here

The first thing you’ll notice is just how well structured Neon Abyss is. At first, looks can be deceiving, as it can take a while to get going. But then you start to discover hidden rooms, themed goodies, and those wondrous eggs, and you really get to see how it all comes together.

One of the more engaging boss battles in the game.

Not to mention it’s fun as heck clearing out a room of enemies. The game utilizes a classic shooting system that works really well here, even though there are times your bullets might hit an object instead of an enemy. (It’s not an accuracy thing, just an occasional slip o’ the stick.) It’s good fun, and the challenge definitely picks up as you start running into bosses that won’t hesitate to mow you down with patterened attacks.

Not to mention the enhancements from those eggs you find. They aren’t entirely game changing, but you can feel the differences that they make, so they aren’t a waste of time. And the other weapons you find, while not over-the-top creative like Gungeon, are worthwhile, so stock up when you can.

Overall, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but Neon Abyss offers solid gameplay for hours on end, and you can’t go wrong with that.

A Good Looking Game

While some may think Neon Abyss doesn’t go over the top with its visuals (it’s definitely an older style, akin to Gungeon), VEEWO has added some nice touches here and there to keep the dungeon hunting from going all “same ol’ same ol’” on us. A few of the themed rooms are spectacular, and you can even engage in a dance party before you jump in for the fight of your life, if you please. The game also features solid old-school animations, and some downright haunting boss designs. (Not quite Carrion haunting, but pretty close.)

This dungeon has a damn bar!

The music is also pretty cool, a nice mix of classic tunes that play in the background while you shred everything. The enemy effects could use a bit more variety, but not bad. And it sounds really cool when you’re taking the game on the go with your Nintendo Switch.

It Doesn’t Change the Genre, But Neon Abyss Makes a Solid Dent

This likely won’t replace Enter the Gungeon as an all-out classic on the gaming front; but Neon Abyss has a surprising amount of goodness to offer if you stick with it long enough. The game design is a lot larger than we expected, and the cool “neon-esque” vibe it gives off can be felt within its visuals and sound. It’s a solid game, but it’s missing that certain spark to push it to the next level.

RATING: 7.5/10

Ah, well, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll find this Abyss well worth jumping into.

It doesn’t revolutionize roguelike games, but Neon Abyss is a fine entry nevertheless.

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