Blasting Through the Depths of the Neon Abyss Demo

The opening message of Neon Abyss isn’t exactly encouraging- Death is the only way out.  The abyss may not an inviting place to visit but, armed with overwhelming self-confidence and a decent machine gun, it’s worth putting that warning to the test.  Neon Abyss is a side-view action roguelike shooter, where each level is made up from a random series of hand-built rooms crawling with monsters, traps, and plenty of loot drops.   The demo just got released and it’s a load of shooty fun through a pixel-art dungeon that may be just a little less deadly than it threatens, although not by much.

While the plot doesn’t make an appearance in the demo you play as a member of Hades’ Grim Squad, eliminating the new gods of the modern age.  Starting off in the bar at the top of the pit there are several power-up options available for the full game that aren’t yet available, such as character select and new abilities, but for the demo it’s one guy and the default loadout.  After a long fall down the pit and safe landing in a central area the level divides off every which way, like a side-view Binding of Isaac.  You run around the various rooms hopping from one platform to the other, shooting everything that moves while avoid its return fire, all while searching out as many perks as possible to make the next area a bit easier.  Each perk has a visual effect on the character, adding masks, hats, gun accessories, etc, and they can have some fairly powerful effects.  More bullets, double jump, faster movement, extra item drops, and less obvious upgrades are all hanging about waiting to be found.  Everything stacks, and it doesn’t take too many to turn the initial popgun into a high-powered screen clearing weapon of utter annihilation.  Which is nice for offense but the enemies still have time to get a few shot-clusters off before dying, so survival is by no means guaranteed.

This isn’t helped by the demo’s time limit, which adds a sense of urgency to the adventure.  This won’t be in the full game and, to make up for it, there are more perks available to help you through.  The object of the demo is to give a taste of how ridiculously powerful you can get in the final version, which isn’t something the five level dungeon would offer otherwise.  There’s a lot in here to have fun with already, though, including eggs that hatch into pets, random skills that feed off the dropped crystals, and even the ability to hang out at the bar and let your character break out a few moves on the dance floor.

Neon Abyss isn’t out until sometime in 2020 but the demo is available now on Steam.  It’s a huge amount of fun, fast and packed with rock-solid shooting action, and incredibly replayable despite its limited form.  Give it a download and play, or at least take a peek at the trailer below.