Neon Chrome: Arena (PC) Review

By Leo Epema 01.02.2017

Review for Neon Chrome: Arena on PC

Neon Chrome has just been updated to include Arena mode DLC. This mode is exactly what it sounds like: it's a mode in which enemies flood in to shoot, explode, "lase," and possibly do other nonsensical things. Learn more about this top-down shooter in our PC and PlayStation 4 reviews of the Neon Chrome base game, and then read on for the lowdown on whether this new add-on is worth the price.

While the Neon Chrome's campaign could be a little slow-paced, with several challenges to tackle and bosses to face, this Arena mode is a lot of fun because of the sheer number of human enemies to defeat. These are the toughest enemies in the game, but most of them are foot soldiers, which allows for the wreaking of quite some havoc.

Arena mode doesn't feel very balanced at times, unfortunately, as the soldier class seems woefully underpowered compared to the techie class, and can do very little to defend himself against the onslaught if his only ability is to resist 25 points of damage with a front-facing shield. The inordinate number of enemies and their bullets flying around will easily shave off damage until the soldier is left with nothing but a basic health bar and no special ability. Thankfully, the grenades he throws can destroy groups of enemies (even shielded ones) easily.

Screenshot for Neon Chrome: Arena on PC

The hacker also doesn't feel particularly useful, as there aren't usually many hackable weapons to turn on the enemy. Aside from that, the wall outlets that spawn mechanical spiders can't be hacked, but simply have to be destroyed. Of course, the threat of spiders coming in for the kill during a tense battle is nice, but like with the base game, strategic depth is missing.

The side-kick defensive bot draws the enemies' attention, but it would've been nice if it could actually be told where to aggro enemies. As it is, it often draws the enemy in to inconvenient places.

The weapons, however, are still as awesome as ever, with shotguns being useful for taking out enemies rounding corners. SMGs reign supreme at medium distances, and they're useful for vanquishing large groups of enemies without getting into their shotgun range. For the die-hards intending to make full use of their accuracy while under immense pressure, perhaps a burst rifle is just right.

Screenshot for Neon Chrome: Arena on PC

What's a shame is that the weapons never get any kind of interesting effect, which could've made the gameplay more dynamic and exciting. Instead, the only upgrades weapons get are things like increases in firing rate. Perhaps what would spice it up a bit is a feature like getting a unique upgrade drop each time certain enemies are killed, or for impressive group kills. In addition, if challenge is the name of the game, upgrades with both positive and negative effects would be seriously interesting.

There are just enough destructible structures on the maps to make the game mode challenging, but not too unforgiving. On each level, they appear to be placed randomly, preventing the challenge from becoming stale. The same applies to the scarce healing stations. The emphasis lies squarely on trying to dodge the enemies' bullets and get them to form up around corners—or you could just shoot through walls. The ability to pick up a weapon from an awarded crate each level during combat makes things all the more exciting. What's fun is that the game gives the player the option to use any weapon they like, though experimentation is encouraged through fairly powerful weapons found in crates.

Screenshot for Neon Chrome: Arena on PC

Coming back to a more negative aspect, hostile turrets are sometimes placed in very unfortunate positions, such as right in front of the elevator that leads to the next level. They are protected from both sides, as they are settled into walls, and that often disrupts the flow of combat a bit much. It would also have been more fun if there were bosses that could be exploited strategically in battle in order to weaken or defeat groups of enemies.

Most bosses, unfortunately, show up before the enemy waves start crashing. That again creates an awkward moment in which it's possible to either wait for enemies to show up, or defeat the boss beforehand. If a boss can damage enemies, it often doesn't happen, anyway, as its attacks can have long start-up times. Bosses also seem few and far between, so a sense of punctuation is missing.

Screenshot for Neon Chrome: Arena on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Neon Chrome's Arena mode is a bit unbalanced as to the effectiveness of some classes' unique abilities, and the turret placement and boss appearances can awkwardly take the wind out of the sails. It is also probably a bit formulaic for most people's liking. That said, it's a harrowing experience, focusing very well on skill rather than tricks or abilities. It's a worthy mode that can be entertaining for hours on end.


10tons Ltd


10tons Ltd





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Holsinmysocks, jesusraz, jgeist

There are 3 members online at the moment.