Type "obstacle course" in Google and you will mostly get either Miniclip games, Wii games or in some cases, a GTA 5 mod or two. It's rare that you see a fully downloadable game like that on the PC, and those you do get are mostly rhythm based. Neon Drive mostly reminded me of Geometry Dash, where great music is not the focus, but an added bonus while jumping around obstacles, or in the case of this game, drive around them.
Neon Drive is available for purchase on Steam for 9,99€.
Neon Drive features no story and if you don't read what the game is all about, you might be tricked into thinking that this is a regular racing game. But make no mistakes. It isn't'. It is a very accessible game where your only controls are moving left and right. There is only one segment of the final level where you use up or down, but I'll get to that in a bit.
There are 7 levels in total and you start the first one in a DeLorean lookalike and by the time you reach level 7 the vehicle will transform several times. No matter the vehicle, the formula remains the same – you move left or right and try your best to avoid obstacles. The game switches up the monotony of avoiding pads by sometimes making you avoid other vehicles, spaceship laser beams and changing the camera position to a top-down angle. There are also two segments that switch it up a bit more radically by turning the game into a simple shoot-em-up, and the final level where the vehicle transforms into a robot running through a factory, jumping over, or ducking under obstacles.
There are 3 difficulty settings and each makes the vehicle go faster in increments as the level progresses. Along with the speed, the songs and level effects get a speed boost so the game seems even more frenetic at higher difficulties. When you begin, you might be forgiven for thinking that the system is quite forgiving, but as soon as you hit level 2 and up, I promise your reflexes will be tested as much as your memory.
Trial and error is most certainly the name of the game. I, personally, never got particularly frustrated. Maybe because I mostly played the game in small increments, and never got up to the boiling point although I caught myself going there a couple of times. Nevertheless, I kept coming back as the clean aesthetic, neon visuals and music gave me plenty of incentive to do so.
Visuals and audio
My first run in with this game was by me unknowingly having a Neon Drive wallpaper. With me loving that 80's neon/Tron aesthetic, I had it for a long time. It was minimal, sleek and bright. Imagine me stumbling upon info that this wallpaper is taken directly from a full game filled with these kinds of visuals. I was thrilled and it was the first thing that drew me into the game.
With that being said, the above translates to the entire game. Everything is covered in sleek, colorful and bright neon lines and it's great to look at, especially as it runs silky smooth the whole way. Levels vary in colors, surroundings, and the general feel. Going from a simple road leading to a sunset, all the way to a futuristic city with flying cars. Each level has plenty of heart and is carefully crafted to represent a certain feel.
Another highlight of the game is most certainly the music. It is kickass. Each level comes with its own upbeat retro-synth track that fits great with the general tone of each one. The music speeds up at higher difficulties and sometimes seems to sync with the obstacles and movement which was helpful when memorizing the layout of the track.
I always find it difficult to score games like these. If you compare it to some other games, you might find it shallow and short with not a whole lot replayability. If you look at it based on what it set to do, and that is a nostalgia-filled obstacle course game with appealing visuals and great music – you can score it higher. All the above stands, depending on your point of view. What is here feels created with much care and very polished and I could drill into the game for what it isn't but I choose to look at it for what it is – a small but fun game that is worth the low price.
|+ Great visuals||– Simple gameplay|
|+ Fantastic soundtrack||– Difficulty|
|+ Simple gameplay||– Only 7 levels|