This preview is based off a pre-alpha build at PAX East.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably played at least one or two stealth games in the last few years. They’re pretty formulaic and straight to the point for the most part. Don’t make noise, hide in the shadows, strike when the time is right. Neon the Ninja is much the same but with one major twist, the darkness is not your friend.
Gameplay in Neon is a 2D stealth platformer where you guide Neon on his journey to get rid of the world’s biggest baddies. It may sound generic but there’s one major difference. As the name implies, Neon is a bright character. Rather than hide in the shadows, he utilizes bright neon lights to hide from his enemies. You’re able to change colors to hide in different signs. Many of the boss fights will utilize this mechanic. I fought a boss that was immune to everything but stealth attacks and was surrounded by flickering neon lights. In order to win, I had to think on my toes and be aware of what lights were turned on. Along with stealth attacks, you’ll have access to basic moves like a dodge, spin attack and stun kick. You’ll also find Castlevania like sub items such as shurikens that you can utilize in combat.
Head of development, Stu Phelps, cited a later episode of Samurai Jack, Samurai Vs. Ninja, as the inspiration for the light based stealth. During the episode’s climax, Jack is confronted by a deadly enemy who is a master of stealth. He claims victory by donning all white and hiding in the light as the sun slowly reveals itself. In terms of style, Neon is Tarantino meets Saturday Morning Cartoons. If you’ve seen Kill Bill Vol. 1 it’s as if O-Ren’s backstory was made for young children.
Being a pre-alpha build, I did run into a multitude of glitches like invisible walls, stuck animations and enemies hitting me off-screen. Neon the Ninja is currently slated for release late next year and will be available for the PC and Wii U at launch. Neon the Ninja has a bright future ahead of it.
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