Neon Tail is fantastic. It provides me with an experience that I thoroughly missed out on when I was younger, whilst still being so immersive and well-built of a world that I have nostalgia, from memories I don’t even have.
I played a lot of video games over the course of my life, and I’ve enjoyed many genres as well, from RPGs to Simulations. In that body of game genres there is one that I really enjoyed but almost never see anymore. Sports games. Well X-Game type sports. I remember having so much fun with the Tony Hawk series of video games, there was one specific Tony Hawk game that I have in mind, though I can’t recall it right now. It was also around this time that Jet Set Radio was released. These types of games are rare today. Though rare, there are a few games out there keeping the spirit of Jet Set Radio and Tony Hawk (X-Games type) games alive.
Going For Gold
(Or Pink, the aesthetic in this game is phenomenal)
Just looking at the screenshots and demo video for Neon Tail, and you instantly know what you’re getting into. I am aware a lot of games now are moving towards a very cyber-punk-esque feel, as that seems to be the trend the Industry is moving towards. Neon Tail doesn’t really go deep into the ‘cyberpunk’ culture as much as it feels like its own little subculture in a much larger world.
The colors, the NPC interactions, the music, each distinct yet somehow feels right at home with each other. There is clearly a lot of early 2000s influence here. If you want some nostalgia, you’ll get some.
The only way I can describe this game’s aesthetic is edgy 2000’s inspired future skate punk. The game clearly takes several of its cues from Jet Set Radio, while ramping upon on that dark but bright underworld that is common in a lot of science fiction.
I also can’t explain it but it feels eerily similar to a TV show I used to watch when I was a child, but I can’t figure out which one.
Irregardless however, the design of the game is pretty great, the constant barrage of neon colours, the lively bazaar/marketplace underworld. The game world seems pretty lively even if it just a single linear map.
The game pretty much plays just like you expect it too. The ability to skate around, grid on rails, jump high, perform tricks, collect Specks (basically just coins). Button mashing the hit button allows you to do some pretty fun tricks, it also allows you to chain multiple hits together, which is pretty satisfying.
I’m also sure that there is a lot more that you can do with all the grinding and what not, but these pseudo-tank controls take a while to get used to.
The music in the demo is only a single track on loop, however I feel like this single track is more than enough to really set the stage of what you are doing. The music feels as though there should be a vocaloid hologram singing and dancing like an overlord over the neighborhood.
The song was really great, I didn’t mind it playing multiple times, and it really felt like it belonged in the world.
Even after all this praise though, it is important to know that this game is still in development. While playing through the game I found some issues with its camera position/repositioning. The pseudo-tank controls also take some getting used to. It also does pose some issues with performance, but again, this is a demo.
Underneath all of this though, was a fun demo, and though I had my gripes with it, it was still a fantastic experience, the demo is free of course and on Itch.io, it isn’t more than 10 or 15 minutes and it is worth some of your time, even if its just to run around the greatly crafted world.