In the distant future super-powered gangs, each vying for control and supremacy control the world. Fighting against this oppression is Rick, a hockey-masked vigilante. Armed with a pipe and some special powers of his own, explore the world of Neon City in this top-down, 2D adventure. Search for power-ups and allies and finally take the fight to the four Super Powered Mob Bosses. End the oppression and be the hero that the people need in Neon City Riders.
Neon City Riders, developed by Mexico based Mecha Studios, is an 80s themed Sci-Fi game; Pixel art with a chibi, retro aesthetic, coupled with catchy chiptune sound effects and music. There’s even a trucker-hat wearing guide who resembles an older, beardier version of Jack Burton.
The 80s is strong with this one.
Even though the demo only takes you to the end of the training scenario, it does give a nice teaser to what is on offer. If you enjoy the aesthetics of games like Wizard of Legend or Dead Cells, this would appeal to you. Make no mistake though that this definitely isn’t a Roguelite game. If anything, the fighting mechanics are an affectionate nod towards Streets of Rage. You travel area to area battling a mix of enemies who enter the scene via teleport or from the edges of the screen. Then through a series of melee combos and special attacks, you take out your enemies. Combat is an experience made interesting by how enemies will telegraph their attacks. Each enemy attack has a distinct vector and area of effect, which is highlighted by yellow squares in the combat zone.
This gives players a chance to learn those attack patterns, making counters and dodges more effective. Fights begin to place importance on timing and understanding the skills available to you. Hopefully, this will prove true with the full release of the game, and more foes with a more complex arsenal of attacks are revealed.
Whilst combat wasn’t too heavy in the Neon City Riders demo, it does give enough of a taste of things to come. Each melee hit was met with satisfying old school 16-bit crunch sound effects. Coupled with the comic book animations, which were crisp and interesting, combat felt good. Encounters with new enemy types meant a new comical death animation. It’s always good to see a burly mutant shark person wave a small white flag before disintegrating on their death.
The demo does show off some of the world, hinting at the potential varied biomes available. From toxic wastelands to industrial landscapes, it paints an interesting image of this neon coloured future. The possible scope of the open world outside the demo gives a sense of what the player will be fighting for. The designers describe that there will be dialogue with more than a hundred Neon City inhabitants, with potential side quests along with it.
Whilst it may not have the scope of something like The Witcher 3, it’s an exciting prospect that there may be a living, breathing world to explore and fight for. The demo also gave a small selection of puzzles that will be available. Mostly based around the use of Rick’s abilities, it’ll be interesting to see how these puzzles develop further.
From its 80s style to the satisfying 16-bit sound effects, Neon City Riders offers a modern, joyful take on something heavily influenced by nostalgia. Whilst a demo is by no means a way to surmise a game, what Mecha Studios have presented here is something that shows a lot of promise. Let’s hope Mecha Studios can follow through.
Neon City Riders will be available on Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and PC.