There’s one underlying problem with the app store that sometimes gets to me; it’s pretty easy to make a very poor excuse of an app and release it alongside the thousands of other developers that are doing the same, in the hopes to get rich quick through in-app advertisements and blatant copying of any idea that has proven to be a success on that platform thus far. Because of this though, it makes finding real, well-developed app or game even more exciting, and this is the excitement I experience when first playing Neonize.
Neonize is an absolute gem of a game, and there really are many reasons why, but first I’d like to delve into exactly what kind of gameplay we can expect from the game. In Neonize, players are given four very simple controls – tap the four onscreen buttons to either shoot left, right up or down in the hopes to destroy any incoming enemies that are heading towards your ship.
Unlike other games with a similar art style, such as Geometry Wars, in Neonize your ship remains completely stationary, and your mission is to simply destroy all incoming enemies before that hit into you and end your shooting streak.
Neonize looks like an arcade shooter, but in reality it is much better compared to something like a simplified version of Boom Boom Rocket or perhaps even Guitar Hero – as you play the game, a simple tune plays in the background, and you’ll start to realize that as the speed of the incoming enemies speeds up, you can use the beats in the song as a cue for when to fire your weapons. In fact, doing so even rewards players with extra points, and shooting enemies at the right time can help players to clock up a big multiplier.
Things aren’t easy though; there are only three levels in Neonize, but this will be enough to accumulate to at least a good few hours – honestly, after playing the game for over half an hour I hadn’t progressed past the first level, and that wasn’t a problem. I was still enjoying Neonize and everything about it captivated me.
Now that I’ve explained the gameplay elements of Neonize, I want to move on and suggest why else I think this game is one of the biggest hidden gems the app store is going to see for a while. Everything from the game menus to the arcade style graphics are so well thought out, and whilst the developers could have made it a little easier to determine the beats within the background music, the sound effects are light and fun to listen to.
On top of having a minimal menu that can be navigated with ease, players can compete for the top spot in the leaderboards, or work towards unlocking all of the available achievements through Game center – it’s often that developers introduce this kind of replayability via Game Center into their games, but Neonize really hit the ball out of the ball park by providing achievement information and progress within the game. Everything has been integrated perfectly, and the game feels like a fully featured arcade title.