If you’re like me, you have some strange, misplaced sense of nostalgia for the 80’s. Perhaps it’s because, growing up, so many movies and shows that were more than a few years old were from the late 80’s. Maybe it’s because Blade Runner is one of my favorite movies. Maybe it’s because so many great movies came out in the 80’s. Regardless of the reason, the 80’s were just wonderful… erm, I think. Fortunately, their popularity has kept the aesthetics and even some of the music alive. Enter Neon Drive, a game that does both. With the synth-pop soundtrack, synthwave/vaporwave-like aesthetics, and fast-paced action, it’s got something for action fans as well as music fans, and it looks beautiful while doing it.
But if I’m being honest, I had a few rage quits.
From Miami beaches to dystopian futures and straight into the danger zone, Neon Drive takes players on a journey through a number of popular 1980’s themes with glorious graphics that’ll surely be a hit to anyone who likes 80’s-themed artwork. If you loved Back to the Future, Top Gun, Blade Runner, Miami Vice, or even Stranger Things, you probably will love the look and feel of this game. The soundtrack alone (embedded below) will be enough to throw you through a time warp right back to the 80’s.
As for gameplay, it’ll be familiar to a lot of people who grew up in the 80’s or early 90’s. You’re in a vehicle, things come at you, and you have to move back and forth to avoid obstacles. However, the objects come at you fast in this game, faster than they ever did in any of those old games. That’s where the music comes in. In nearly all levels (I found part of level 5 is best played without music), the music is timed to the obstacles. Dodge on the beat or during synth notes that correspond to the oncoming blocks or cars. The music was clearly made for the game, and is well timed to events in the gameplay, like exiting a building, being attacked by a space ship, or taking to the sky’s in your F-15 Tomcat-like transformer plane-car (seriously, this is so 80’s).
I’ll admit, if you’re frustrated by games, some of the levels will really get to you. However, anyone who remembers what “Nintendo-hard”* means will understand why the game has to be this difficult. That’s just how things were in the 80’s, after all. As you play, you’ll find the levels you struggled with in the beginning are easier now. If you find the game frustrating, don’t worry, you’ll get better at this game as you play it, so keep practicing.
Neon Drive certainly had me ready to scream at points, but despite frustrating moments, I really enjoy playing it. The graphics, music, and gameplay make this one of the must-have games for iOS owners. I highly recommend you go download it from the App Store, it’s the best $3.99 you’ll spend all week.
*Nintendo-hard was what people called a game made for the Nintendo Entertainment System that was impossibly hard. Memory constraints on the cartridges kept games short so developers made the games exceptionally difficult. Players would spend years playing a game without beating it (I would know).