Neon Zone Review

Neon lights are usually associated with exquisite night time entertainment, of a varying sort. There is an allure about that fuzzy, colourful glow that just invites you in, as if emitting a trance-inducing radiation. If a survey was taken asking people what distracts them the most, neon lighting would probably come just under “shiny things”. House On Fire‘s smartphone game, Neon Zone, has had us staring at it’s beautiful visuals for long enough now so that we can give an assessment. The task is trying to pen up this review without glancing over at the game again for fear of not being able to tear our eyes away for another hour or so. Must. Not. Look. At. Distracting. Lights.

 

Neon Zone is your standard tilt and tap smartphone puzzle game. You initially tap the screen to place a square in the stage which will drop according to the direction of gravity, which can be altered depending on the angle at which you poise your device.  Tapping the screen again will make your new four-sided friend hop in the opposite way of gravity; this is used to clear gaps and hop up levels. The goal of each stage is to collect all of the light orbs. Upon doing so, the amount of gravity turns, jumps and time taken is assessed. Stars are given for each one if it is on par or below. There lies the mainstay of Neon Zone.

 

Each stage can be completed in a matter of seconds. Though, it will often take a while to both figure out and successfully perform what is required to collect all the orbs without gravity taking yet another victim. Fortunately, as the game runs very smoothly and reacts as fast as you do when flinging your device around, this will only happen when you screw up. You pathetic waste of human! There may be plenty of other puzzle games that use the same design principals as Neon Zone, but a good majority are not nearly as polished. Those who appreciate simple yet clever game design will bask in Neon Zone‘s glow.

 

By adopting minimalist visuals, House On Fire have obviously been able to focus on making Neon Zone feel very tight. The tilt controls especially so, as they can often feel too slippery in titles that use the same mechanics. In Neon Zone though, the only thing restricting you is the bones in your wrists as you twist your hands around like some maniac smartphone wrestler. On a more serious note, a slight off-put for some people may be that the game is too minimalist in its presentation. While slick, the game does not excite much with its audio accompaniment, and there is only so much you can take of neon lines before they do unfortunately get a little boring to look at. It’s an acquired taste for sure.

 

Bragging an impressive 72 stages and with those 3 stars to attempt on every one, Neon Zone could last quite a while. It’s certainly perfect for a sneaky coffee break gaming session. Although saying that, you may get a little sucked into the allure of its neon glow and forget to go back to work. Wait, that’s a good thing, right? Anyway, if you are a sucker for physics-based puzzles and want a game to show off your tilt-tapping action phone (that’s what all the kids call them nowadays, trust us), then Neon Zone is your new best mate. Of course there are others out there like it, but this is polished very well, and it only costs a meagre 0.69p/$0.99. Get on it.

 

Review summary Pros:

Smart and slick gameplay, tight controls, neon ambiance

 

Cons:

Minimalist design doesn’t excite too much, an acquired taste

 

Rating: 83%

 

For more information on House On Fire and Neon Zone, head over to the official website.
You can purchase Neon Zone from the Android Store or the Apple App Store.

Valuing gameplay and innovation over everything, Chris has a keen eye for the most obscure titles unknown to man and gets a buzz from finding fantastic games that are not getting enough love. Chris Priestman, Editor-in-Chief of IGM

Join the discussion by leaving a comment

Leave a reply

IndieGameMag - IGM