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NeonLore review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Publisher: Playstige Interactive
Developer: Playstige Interactive
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

If nothing else, NeonLore is unique. It describes itself as a “first-person free form exploration game,” but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s more part cyberpunk walking simulator, part visual novel, part audiobook.

Unfortunately, none of these parts are very good.

I mean, to be fair, I can’t say definitively that the audiobook portions were awful, since I didn’t devote a few hours to listening to each of them. For all I know, they may have been amazing. It’s just that everything surrounding the audiobooks made it really, really hard to care about them.

This stems from the fact that the walking simulator portion of NeonLore is painfully slow. And I mean slow quite literally – your character moves through the world like he/she/they are walking through sludge. You inch forward along a neon-drenched street, every step feeling like an eternity, making your way to each of the random people standing around, doing nothing.

Your reward for reaching them? A wall of poorly formatted text, where you get to read their life stories. If you like clichéd cyberpunk tropes about the trouble with technology and dystopian futures, that may make it worth it – but if not, the bad news is that’s pretty much all there is to do in the game. In fact, repeat that 40 times, and that’s pretty much everything there is to do here.

Except, of course, for the audiobooks. There are four of them, and you unlock them either by a) solving puzzles that are either insanely easy (a game of memory with only eight options) or impenetrably difficult (you’re given a wall of illegible text, and you have to…do something), or b) simply skipping the puzzle and going straight to the audiobook. Again, I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to the four audiobooks all the way through, so they may be amazing works of literature – but even if they are, I don’t know what you would do while listening to them. Maybe prop your Switch up and listen for a few hours? After all, it’s either that or walking…very…slowly…around the game’s small world, which hardly seems worth it.

Then again, none of NeonLore seems worth it. It’s a dull walking simulator mixed with an equally dull visual novel, and the end result – while fairly unique – is indescribably lousy.

Playstige Interactive provided us with a NeonLore Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: D-