Imagine, as always, sitting relaxed on the couch with Hades, the ruler of the underworld, in the club. This suddenly asks you whether you would like to take revenge. Who exactly is not really clear now. What would you do if this trustworthy Pixel Devil gave you a delicious and magically shimmering cocktail?

In the case of Neon Abyss, we take a really big gulp of the not-so-suspicious bum and fall into a murderous Roguelite abyss, crisscrossed by electronic beats and flickering disco lighting. The only way out: our own death. And we experience this again and again.







Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce



Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce

Source: PC games




What initially sounds like a pretty interesting premise for a real story is dropped here again. The focus of Neon Abyss, as usual for a roguelite, is pure fun. So full of energy we grab our first firearm and get started. The 2D Run & Gun controls itself with the keyboard as well as with the controller quite catchy and precise. With W, A, S, D or with the left stick we control our character, with the mouse or the right stick we aim at our opponents and cover them with bullets. We can also stock up on grenades for the more rough situations.

This initially very simple basic structure, which is known from any comparable Run & Gun or twin stick shooter, is spiced up here with countless items and mechanics. On our way through the abyss, we keep collecting new weapons and objects with different effects that also change our appearance. In the manner of The Binding of Isaac our character gradually looks like a running clothes rack. The capabilities of the equipment vary quite a bit, ranging from overpowering to almost useless. But more on that later.







Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce



Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce

Source: PC games




In addition to a whole lot of weapons with different fire modes and a lot more equipment, we always find eggs on our way through the individual levels of the neon hell, which then happily hover behind us. With a certain probability, helpful companions hatch from these eggs, which have their own unique abilities. A snowman, for example, freezes opponents at random intervals, a small green cactus person inflicts damage on enemies when touched, a fire devil sets enemies and wooden surroundings on fire.

In the course of a run, these companions can also develop and grow, which improves their skills. But not only do our loyal animals get better and stronger together with us, they also have their own pool of HP. If our helpers are hit too often, they die. We cannot give orders to any of the companions, nor can they control how they behave and when and who they attack is always purely coincidental. This brings us to the first shortcoming of the game.

Stress with randomness







Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce



Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce

Source: PC games




The individual levels of Neon Abyss are generated randomly through and through. This is supposed to provide variety and unique runs each time, but this suggestion fails due to the monotonous design of the surroundings and the small variety of opponents on the first floors. Instead, the randomly selected level structure causes frowns and one or two moments of frustration. As an example, we found wings in a passage with which we could fly through the levels. Jump passages, spikes on the ground or unreachable treasure chests were no longer a problem. Then we found no fewer than three items, each of which modified our jumping behavior. However, these were completely pointless due to the wings.

We can also meet several locked doors in one section without having seen a key until then. Or it is already in the first area before we could have collected coins, a door that can only be opened by playing a slot machine; which of course costs coins for each spin. You have to be able to overlook such shortcomings within the random structures, otherwise it can be annoying. A good run can be repeated any number of times. After our death, a code is always shown on the screen, we enter it before the next run at a terminal, then we can play this exact passage again, level building, items and positions of opponents and boxes are taken over.

Counter terrorist against the powerful







Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce



Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce

Source: PC games




If we have survived the opponent's masses of the level, then we face a randomly chosen boss opponent at the end of each floor. Again, the game offers a wide variety of different opponents, all of whom are well designed and have their own attack patterns. The bosses still feel a little bit the same, since we are almost only dealing with heads floating around in space, which fire their projectiles at us. Another thing is the special goals that only lurk on us on a certain floor.

After we have soaped a boss properly with balls and defeated him, he drops golden crystals. If we experience our screen death, which sooner or later happens inevitably, we wake up in a kind of hub world at the counter of the title bar "Neon Abyss". Here we can exchange the golden crystals for upgrades, which, however, do not improve our character as much as the dungeons themselves. Here we unlock new items and weapons that we can find on our way, we unlock special rooms where we receive bonuses or complete mini-games and new characters who plunge into the abyss with their own specifications. In this regard the developers offer us a lot of variety.







Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce



Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce

Source: PC games




But there is not just a skill counter in the bar. From here we can also set the level of difficulty, whereby we can choose between easy, normal and difficult. One can argue about the easy level of difficulty here, because this setting only reduces the HP of our opponents. Nevertheless, they cause the same damage to us. This is noticeable in the first levels, but later, when the screen is swarming with opponents and projectiles and skillful evasion becomes really demanding, we are over as quickly as at the normal level.

A potpourri of pop culture

In addition to the previously mentioned qualities and weaknesses, Neon Abyss is above all brimming with pop cultural allusions. We can also hatch a mini-trump with an egg, for example, the text of which starts with the words "Grab 'em". Or we find a small dagger that reinforces attacks from behind. The text says "Nothing is true. Everything is permitted" and our character gets a white hood, which of course is supposed to indicate Assassin's Creed. Sometimes we find a futuristic sign with "2077" written in red.







Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce



Neon Abyss in the test: A colorful roguelite between The Binding of Isaac and Broforce

Source: PC games




The battles against the bosses feel a bit like battles against the demons of modernity. So we fight in different battles, for example against the "God of Pills", against Tok, the "God of Mobile Videos", or against flying clown heads that are reminiscent of the McDonald's mascot. All bosses are creatively designed according to their topic, only the attacks and mechanics themselves could reflect the underlying spirit a little more.

Last but not least, one should also commend the successful soundtrack of the game, which optimally captures the neon aesthetics with driving electro beats and ensures a lot of adrenaline in the action-packed arguments. Our character can also dance in the bar. That doesn't really work, but it looks funny.

Neon Abyss has been available for PC, PS 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch since July 14th.

Cool art style
Good soundtrack
Large variety of items, bosses, weapons etc.
Easy control
Skillsystem changes the levels
Multiple unlockable characters
Repeatable runs thanks to codes
Numerous innuendo and Eastereggs
Random dungeons can be unfair
Little change in normal intermediate opponents
Levels look pretty much the same
Boss fights feel the same in their mechanics
Easy level of difficulty rather nonsensical

A rock solid gaming experience, for both genre fans and beginners