Neon Battle

4 Overall Score
Graphics: 4/10
Gameplay: 4/10
Sound: 6/10

Music/ Responsive controls

Slow pace/ Muted graphics

Game Info

GAME NAME: Neon Battle

DEVELOPER(S): Bailey Earley / Ari Markowitz / Xander Wall

PUBLISHER(S): Helix Games

PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U

GENRE(S): Party

RELEASE DATE(S): July 9th, 2015

It’s a simple concept. Take the game that started it all turn it on it’s head and bring to life a game that plays to nostalgia and yet “feel” fresh, new and exciting. Helix Games set out to do just that with their Wii U eShop release Neon Battle. When first hearing about the title, visions of Pac-Man Championship and what it did to re-invent the classic gameplay dance thru my head. And also taking a cue from other indies taking older style of games and revamping them for a new generation of gamers like Ultratron and others lately.

Unfortunately Neon Battle does not accomplish this goal and instead essentially becomes Neon Pong played in a circular arena. The game offers both single player and multiplayer modes, each offering 2 modes to play. “Solo” and “VS. CPU” for single player, “Classic” and “Challenge” in multiplayer. The gameplay mechanics are simple and easy to understand. Each player will move their paddle left or right in the circular battlefield in attempt to be the first to score 50pts and points are awarded for each time the “ball” hits the paddle.

neon_battle_screenshot

This gameplay while simple has the ability to be very fun and addictive if implemented properly. While I am glad they took the time to implement a single player portion, it is actually one of the worst features and actually hurts the game overall. In Solo mode you are tasked to reach the 50pt limit,but your only opponent is the bad random starting direction of the ball as you are the only paddle in the field. Yup just you moving your paddle around the circle to score a point until you hit 50 and if you miss you will be treated to that random start which may go on for a bit depending on if you get to the ball in time or miss it.  In VS. CPU it’s you versus the AI in an attempt to reach 50 pts. While playing you will run into power ups that will double your points, increase the size of your paddle and more. However thanks to the lackluster AI it basically becomes the same as SOLO mode because you can just push the opposing paddle out of the way with no push back.

On the multiplayer side of things Neon Battle does fair a bit better but still falters due to the slow pace of the gameplay and a few other hitches. Multiplayer offers 2 modes, Classic which has you and a friend in a Vs. match complete with power ups. Then there is the Challenge Mode which starts of with 2 balls for the players to contend with which can and does increase the intensity, speed and fun of the gameplay experience. However if a player misses the return of one or both balls a second one never appears and you are left with the aforementioned slow pace and lack of power-ups from the Classic mode. Unfortunately this is not the only problem that arises in the multiplayer gameplay. Because momentum is not accounted for with the paddles battles for the ball become a virtual stale mate of who got there first as the paddles just spark on contact with very little movement back and forth.

On the graphical side of things Neon Battle gets the job done but that’s about it. While the graphics do have a “neon” like hue to them all the colors feel muted and do not really pop off the screen like you would expect. On the sound side of things its again pretty much the same, it get’s the job done. Though the one exception to this is the music provided by Kubbi. The music provides a great frenetic sound that should feel right at home but instead really make the pace issues of Neon Battle all the more apparent. That coupled with the fact that when the track playing during gameplay is over you are just left with the sounds of the ball hitting the battles as the track never restarts.

The Recommendation

While there is fun to be had with Neon Battle it is essentially Pong gone Neon. While the circular battlefield and “power ups” do add a bit of variety to the mix, the slow pace of the gameplay and lack of a sense of “battling” for the ball, Neon Battle unfortunately misses the mark. The music provided by Kubbi is the bright spot in the game (I’m actually listening to it from the start up screen on my gamepad as I write this) the game doesn’t break the rules the way it’s trailer would have you believe and misses so much of it’s potential.  If you are itching to play a pong like game on Wii U and have $1.49 burning a hole in your pocket give it a shot. If you were hoping for a possible PAC-MAN Championship Edition style reboot of the classic that turns it on it’s head Neon Battle is not for you.

 

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Author: Ryan Shiflett View all posts by
Lover of all genres and systems though admittedly a HUGE Nintendo fan. I'm all about the joy and fun the experience of playing a videogame brings. I say "Play games not systems". -Someday you will be old enough to start playing Nintendo games and reading comic books again- Me.