January 7, 2014 7:00 AM | Anthony Swinnich
We've all seen images of what a dystopian cyberpunk society would look like, whether it was through the cinematic classic Blade Runner or by playing game like Mega Man X. László Csengő (Tazi) is crafting his own bleak, futuristic universe in Neon Grey, a pure 2D action platformer, which he'll share with the rest of us once development has concluded.
Tazi sidesteps the modern fascination with the Metroidvania style of sidescroller, instead providing good old linear level progression. Each of the eight stages will be tied together with in-game cutscenes. They also each have distinct, albeit urban themes to differentiate themselves, like a graffiti-filled subway station, city street-level stretches with blown-out buildings and more.
"Most of my influences are from different movies/comics portrayal of a decayed New York (which means mostly Manhattan and The Bronx, I believe), " Tazi told me, "but also from the city I currently live in (Budapest). There is also some art deco stuff already in the tile sets, like gargoyles, and the neons and other city lights... I'd say that's some kind of a pattern I associate with futuristic cities and 80s visuals both."
While the progression is linear, that doesn't mean your path through the individual levels is the same way. There will be multiple paths to choose from and hidden areas to find. There are roughly 20 enemies in the game to contend with. Each stage culminates in a challenging boss fight, where success requires you to learn patterns that include multiple attacks and react accordingly. These battles will also be important in progressing the story, as they are accompanied by cutscenes as well.
Tazi said that the game will put the tools for success in the players hands right from the start. "In Neon Grey I'm going with the Super Meat Boy-esque approach: The player has all of the skills from the beginning, and has strong control over the main hero's movement. Progressing the game will be about mastering these controls more and more. And [learning] some level/enemy behaviour."
Since the game gives you your full range of abilities right away, it makes no qualms with providing a challenge. That said, a concentrated amount of effort going into making sure it's not too difficult or frustrating. Tazi is especially conscious of how hard any vehicle segments that may make it into the final version will be, citing Battletoads as an example of what to avoid.
Neon Grey began development in November of 2012 and there's no planned release date yet. Tazi is currently building for Windows, but hopes to release on Mac OS, Linux and possibly Ouya when all is said and done. Follow Neon Grey on Facebook.
[video courtesy of IndieDB]