Neon Thrust review (iPod/iPhone)

September 20, 2011

“Time, got the time tick, tick, tickin’ in my head”

10 word description: 2D action puzzler. Thrust control, collect items, escape in time.

10 word review: Challenging maze navigation with plenty of diverse elements. Retro style.

Collect the white glowing thing and return to the entrance/exit ... quickly!

You will like this if you enjoy: Thrust style games (although this one doesn’t feature standard gravity). Retro style games. Action/arcade puzzle challenges. Games where limited time to complete objectives (i.e – escaping each level) is a major feature.

Collecting all the green blobs is optional and often quite tricky

The good news: Graphics and general style of the game are charmingly retro and minimal. Controls work well, and it’s nice to have the option to hide the virtual joypad and button. The smallness of everything adds to the experience – the little blobs (green = good, red = bad) that are magnetically attracted towards your craft and other objects are really rather cool.

Anything red is dangerous. Don't touch it

The bad news: I don’t enjoy playing against a timer, particularly the fairly unforgiving ones that occur in this game, causing stress levels to rise as you repeatedly fail to negotiate a tortuous, danger strewn return route within the few allowed seconds. Failing and restarting are integral parts of gaming, I realise that, but when the challenge is purely one of beating a rather vicious countdown the inventiveness of the rest of the game loses some of its appeal.

Passing the forcefields on the way in isn't too bad. On the way out, you're up against a very tough timer

Arcadelife verdict: This is a well designed and presented game. If you don’t have a total aversion to timers then you’re going to have a lot of fun with it. If it was my game (I did start writing one very similar to this but it’s very unfinished) I’d use fuel – consumed when thrusting – as part of the challenge, rather than a timer. Maybe also incorporate a timer as a way to get a better score, but not as the primary method of introducing difficulty into an otherwise rather splendid game. We’re not all speed-run addicts, after all!

Splat. This is what happens when you are repelled into a killer wall

Arcadelife rating: 80/100

Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Neon Thrust website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 4.3.5)
iPad (OS 4.3.5)

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