Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Neon Thrust - 0.99 (shiny-games)

Neon Thrust is an action physics puzzler from shiny-games in which you’ll guide a little neon box, named Neo, through 60 levels while trying to collect each of the power crystals and make it back out of the levels before they explode. There are also green and red Neons to collect and avoid while navigating through each of the 4 zones.

The controls in Neon Thrust work exceptionally well, giving players a joystick and a thrust button. Moving the joystick in the direction you want to go, and then pressing the thrust button will give you a nice push in the desired direction. The thrust doesn’t last long after you let go of the thrust button, so navigating is done smoothly, and easily throughout the levels.
There are 60 levels, split up into 4 zones, giving us 15 levels in each of the different zones. The difficulty builds pretty slowly, giving players an opportunity to get a pretty good grip on the handling of the controls and physics within the game. The difficulty also climbs at a rate that will leave enough room for gamers to want to return to the first world of the game in order to try and better over all scores, and get the 3 star scores for each of the levels once they’ve gone through the game and can handle Neo with near expert precision. This, along with the GameCenter leader boards for each of the zones, and a total score, add a lot of replay value to Neon Thrust.
While going through each of the zones, new obstacles will be added, like red walls that Neo can not touch, spots in the levels that either end up pushing or pulling gravity, timed lasers, doors that are triggered with switches, and more. The level design is wonderful, and the placement of each of the green and red Neons will leave even the most expert gamers wondering how to get through the level in the shortest amount of time while collecting all the required items in order to get the best score. In order to get 3 stars on a level, you must guide Neo through the level, collect all of the green Neons, avoid all of the red Neons, grab the power crystal, and make it back to the entrance/exit of the level before the timer that starts when you pick up the power crystal reaches zero.
Graphics in Neon Thrust are simple, and minimal, but work extremely well within the game. Neo, the green box that you guide around the levels, is a simple neon green with 2 white squares for eyes, and a white rectangle for his thruster. Each of the 4 zones is a different color, red, purple, brown, and turquoise, each with squares and sharp angles being the main visual theme. The walls are outlined in white, or red, red being the color that you can not touch while going through the levels, either with the walls, or the Neons. The graphics do come off as being retro inspired, but still keep a very modern look about them. This sort of graphical style is quickly becoming a favorite for me, not just throughout mobile iPod games, but with any console.
There is no music except for on the main menu, but the game does have some excellent sound effects. However, I did find the sound that’s made after you die and are given a ‘retry’ screen to be pretty annoying. It would have been much better if the level automatically restarted after each death, because each gamer will die quite a few times throughout the game. Having to hit ‘retry’ every 3 seconds in some areas really took away from the flow of the experience, though this is nothing too big, or really an issue for most people.
In the end, Neon Thrust is a great gaming experience. Wonderful level design with great obstacles and puzzles, along with quite a bit of action because of the timed aspect makes it a very enjoyable game. The addition of GameCenter was done very well, with each of the scores changing each time you do better on a level. This means that players can not simply play the first zone over and over again, and end up with the #1 score on the total leader board. You’ll need to play through each level in the game multiple times, and try and find the best possible route for Neo to take. 60 levels gives us quite a bit of content, but the levels are pretty short. However, more levels are coming in the future, and with the replay value being pretty high, the shortness of the levels shouldn’t really be a problem. Great graphics, and a very smooth gameplay experience make Neon Thrust a great buy at $0.99. If you’re a fan of action, puzzle, physics, or just all around good score driven games, it’s one that you should definitely check out.

Neon Thrust is getting a score of 9 out of 10.



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