Years after the human-robot wars have concluded, the two civilisations live in fragile harmony and peace. But how long can this last when a string of mysterious murders threaten to dismantle everything?
Tales of the Neon Sea is a 2D cyberpunk marvel set in 2140. You play as private detective and ex copper Rex. Going about your day you are unintentionally dragged by a strange murder case into the depths of this world with brutal gangs, robot and human tension, feline mafias and gruesome murders. The evidence slowly beginning to reveal the work of an all too familiar foe. Can you stop the killer before it’s too late? And how many more people must die before the truth is revealed?
The story plays out like the plot of a cop drama and definitely stands out as one of the best parts of this game. It is gritty, gory, humorous and has the classic tropes of a cop drama – badass ex copper is aided by his intelligent sidekick (who in this case happens to be a cat called William) in order to stop a string of brutal and vicious murders.
I will say the story is not new or inventive in any way but it still comes across well and I’m really hoping for a sequel of this game so I can find out what happens next!
The controls for this game are simple, fluid and all round easy to use. You have the choice of keyboard and mouse (with several key binding options) or controller and both are very easy and responsive. It definitely has a retro feel and style but there is so much to explore.
It may be 2D but it is definitely doesn’t lack depth or diversity in its visually stunning locations or is challenging puzzles. The majority of gameplay centres around these puzzles , whether hacking machines or working your way through each chapter you will come across them. They are unavoidable but definitely doable. Even the most challenging can be solved after a few tries or by exploring the landscape for something you’ve missed.
These puzzles fall into the category of: hard enough that you feel accomplished when you get them but simple enough that you feel like an idiot for not getting them sooner.
If you are not a puzzle person Tales of The Neon Sea could definitely become tedious to you. The puzzles are such an integral part of the gameplay that they are impossible to avoid, however, as I said before, they are not impossible or extremely hard and can be solved with a few goes or another look around.
For a 2D game the graphics were outstanding. The landscape was so interactive and things such as fungi that glows when you’re near as a gorgeous visual touch that really added to the depth of the game.
The cyberpunk style of this game is beautiful, the rusting old world clashing with the neon new and every time I looked at my screen I would notice another detail that I had never noticed before, the dedication the developers have to the design of this game is very apparent. It really nods back to an 80s style of game and gives reference to blade runner as an inspiration.
This game is worth the money simply for its stunning graphics.
The soundtrack centres around an old fashioned jazz noir style with a mix of synth to make it distinctly its own. It’s certainly feels very fitting for an old fashioned, trilby wearing, private detective in a futuristic world. It fades gracefully into the background not distracting or repetitive enough to bother you whilst you’re trying to figure out harder puzzles but pleasant enough that you notice it.
The game sounds themselves were great, many having distancing to them when you got closer or further away – a nice feature for a 2D game. They really boost the atmosphere and help differentiate the locations changing as you move through the world.
I really, really enjoyed this game. I adore puzzle and story driven games and this ticked both those boxes. What it lacks in originality in its storyline it definitely makes up for in its stunning visual qualities and engaging puzzles. I thoroughly recommend this game but will mention that it is relatively short, completing the whole thing in around 7 or 8 hours.
However, this game really brings it’s own identity to the field and I finished it wanting to immerse myself in more of it. This game knows who it is and what it brings to the table – stunning cyberpunk graphics, a great soundtrack and a classic detective story.
Available on Steam. Tales of the Neon Sea. Tales of the Neon Sea. Tales of the Neon Sea.
Pros and Cons
Loads of Puzzles
Puzzles Can Become Tedious
Storyline Lacks Originality
Short-ish Game Length
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