Tales of the Neon Sea is a classic 2D side scroller packed with cyberpunk goodness. Created by Palm Pioneer, this strange and wacky world expands beyond the adventures of disgruntled cyborg Rex (who’s also private investigator) and his curious cat William.
After years of disappointment as a cop, Rex drinks his retirement away in a city that’s exploding with artificial color and futuristic wonders. When he accidentally stumbles upon the scene of a murder, Rex gets swept up into a case involving a dangerous psychopath who has never been caught.
It’s hard to get bored when playing Tales of the Neon Sea. Whether you’re walking the streets of a future not too far off or unwrapping the many layers of the murder mystery, there is always something interesting going on. But what makes the story especially engaging are the puzzles. Always unique and intriguing, these puzzles will keep you on your toes.
Point of view was also something unique about the game – playing as a cyborg sounds like a prerequisite for making a cyberpunk game but what I didn’t expect was getting to play as the moody black cat William. The two work together in a funny but perfectly genius way to solve crime and it was really fun to jump between playing the two of them.
One thing I didn’t like was how little instruction there was at some points, especially in gameplay. I know that’s a total difference of opinion, because some gamers like to completely figure everything out themselves, but sometimes puzzles (which were in themselves awesome!) kind of had me lost and thinking ‘wait, what’s the goal?’. Or at other times, it took me longer to get through a part simply because there was a tool at my disposal that I didn’t even know I had.
I would have loved to understand Rex’s character a little earlier on. In the beginning, scenes happen in a way that felt a little choppy and it was hard to understand what was happening plot-wise. However, you do come to understand his character and motivations better later on which was great! There’s also a ton of lore stuffed into the game but I really enjoyed that, things that were right up sci-fi alley and others that came as total surprises.
The art style of Tales of the Neon Sea is pure nostalgia! The 2D characters are quirky and well-drawn, but the city itself looks so good that it’s basically a character on its own. Just in your first venture out into the city, market streets are colored with bright neon lights and a blazing skyline – it was hard to tear my eyes from it and anyone with an artsy eye will surely feel the same way!
The soundtrack of Tales of a Neon Sea was probably one of my favorite aspects. The scores, while never overshadowing the game-play, were always present and setting the tone and reminding us that this is a place different from our own but not so different that it feels like we can’t picture it at all. The way it set the mood for the story and world was something I definitely enjoyed throughout my play-through!
Tales of the Neon Sea is a fun game whether you’re a well-seasoned side-scroller lover or new to the genre. With the added steampunk element, it offers a fun and zany world to explore and you won’t be able to stop yourself from halting mid-investigation to take in the city skyline. The Neon Sea is alive and seeping with imagination.
Check out this sci-fi adventure on Steam – it’s officially out now – and if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer down below!