Neon Drifters is a timing based action game developed by MoltenCore Games. Similar to games like Jetpack Joyride or Flappy Bird, Neon Drifters is all about keeping calm and avoiding obstacles, all in pursuit of a high score. With impressive pixel art and cool visuals, Neon Drifters sure has a pleasing aesthetic. However, timing based games depend on accuracy of controls and good visual distinctions for a solid experience. Does Neon Drifters perform well, or lag behind? Let's see how it fares.
Visually speaking, Neon Drifters is pretty darn cool. The game itself is viewed from a top down perspective. You control a ship near the bottom of the screen, moving left and right to avoid obstacles. The art direction of the game is worthy of its name; the game's setting and enemy design are futuristic and sleek. As you play, a city scrolls beneath you, revealing a dystopian and robotic future. Signs display words like “OBEY”, beckoning thoughts of government control. Flashing lights and quick speed is the name of the game, so it's nice to see a clean and easy to view visual style.
The music is also a standout, techno and bouncy. Composed by Paul Sim, the soundtrack meshes well with the quick-paced gameplay. It also works great when paired with the visual style and atmosphere MoltenCore Games has created. The music is a bit fantastical, with a driving tempo and upbeat synths. It was easy to jive along with the game's music as I narrowly dodged incoming enemies, and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.
The gameplay itself is pretty basic, and where Neon Drifters let me down a bit. Don't get me wrong, the game controls and handles well, and is exciting to play. Unfortunately, the amount of content in the game leaves a bit to be desired. Since the art style is so good, I would've loved to see some variation in environments (or even time of day or weather). Instead, you'll be replaying the same stage over and over.
Enemies and obstacles are often repeated as well, usually cycling between spiked balls, laser traps, large ships, and a giant laser beam. You collect data pieces, which can be used to purchase new characters. I appreciated the variety in unlockable characters, as well as their various advantages. For example, some characters are better at moving quickly, while others might be able to resist hits or gain extra data. The most expensive characters are also the best, being able to dodge the quickest and collect the most points, but cannot withstand any hits.
There's 8 characters in all to purchase, and I was able to collect most of them before finishing up. Since there's not much to do after collecting all the characters, I didn't have too much of a reason to return. This could be easily fixed with a few additions, however. Thankfully, Neon Drifters' core gameplay is easy to expand upon, with more variation on enemies and obstacles being my first suggestion. The best thing Neon Drifters could have would be a challenge list. Similar to how Jetpack Joyride works, I think that Neon Drifters could easily extend its replayability by presenting fun and inventive challenges that highlight the core gameplay. Additionally, adding cosmetic upgrades to the shop would give some use to the data pieces after you've collected the entire character roster.
Overall, Neon Drifters is an enjoyable time. It's best played in short bursts, so it'll be great for those who use public transportation to commute to work, or for those looking for a quick gaming break. If MoltenCore Games continues to support their game, I'm sure it'll become more fleshed out and complex. I look forward to returning to Neon Drfiters, as the visual style and great music really got me amped. Give it a try, it's definitely one of the cooler looking games I've played.
Reviewed by Matt
Watch Neon Drifters Trailer