Publisher: Playdius Entertainment
Set in a captivating, neon world, NeuroVoider is a brilliantly addictive role-playing shooter game from Flying Oak Games. You play as a brain (Yes, a brain!) that is one of the last remaining humans left fighting evil, mechanical foes. Initially, you must choose between three robots to control: an agile speedy robot named Dash, a long-lasting stamina robot called Fortress, or a high-powered robot with devastating weapons named Rampage.
Developer: Flying Oak Games
Review platform: Xbox One
Release date: Apr 20, 2017
You also have your choice of supplementary perks that have a range of effects from healing to slowing time. One of the best parts of NeuroVoider is how well balanced each build is. No single build dominates the game, and you can make arguments for each perk or robot being the best way to go about the game. Another aspect that I loved about this title was the design. The bright colors, clever machines, and engaging soundtrack created a compelling story world that I wanted to return to again and again.
That said, NeuroVoider does have several serious issues. First, the wonderful balance in builds and perks is ruined by the lack of balance in level design. I found the levels themselves to be beautiful, but ridiculously simplistic and overly easy. Regardless, I honed my brain-robot skills and boosted my confidence...until I got hit with my first boss fight.
In any role-playing game built around periodic bosses, it is absolutely necessary to balance the difficulty of the boss with the rigor of the preceding level. Too easy and the player doesn’t feel as if they have accomplished anything. Too difficult and you alienate the player, frustrating them to the point they don’t want to return. In the case of NeuroVoider, what few skills you’ve built during the overly-easy levels seem useless in the overly hard, random boss fights that require good luck more than skill to overcome. This imbalance severely detracts from the replay value of the game and could alienate players that don’t have the stubbornness to push through the arbitrarily difficult boss fights.
Accessibility is another issue. Whereas NeuroVoider’s controls are simple, I don’t see them being easily remapped to accommodate players with disabilities. With no options for color overlays or sound cues either, the game is completely inaccessible to many gamers with disabilities who otherwise could enjoy a fun, beautiful shooter.
Overall, NeuroVoider is a good experience with great design, fun gameplay, but suffers from some balance and accessibility issues. It’s nothing that a post-launch patch can’t solve and maybe providing options to adjust the boss fights would serve the title well. If you’re looking for an interesting shooter along the lines of Enter the Gungeon, give this one a go.
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