Getting into a rhythm in the morning is relatively easy most days, except on this one particular morning your robot decided to play your alarm extra loud. Waking you up significantly quicker than instances prior, this wake-up call stings more than before. Tales of the Neon Sea immediately grabs your attention in the first scene of the game. The first game from developer Palm Pioneer presents a beautiful, neon cyberpunk adventure game.
The beginning moments of Tales of the Neon Sea introduced me into the protagonist, Mr. Mist. He is a former detective, who became obsessed with one particular case which leads him to his downfall. After getting out of bed, I found the controls to be not normal for the typical adventure game. It doesn’t follow the normal point-and-click controls unlike its predecessors, instead opting to use a WASD approach to controls. This shift in controls initially caught me off guard, but then I found them to feel much better than using the mouse to control every movement. It helps you do tasks more precise, instead of a simple mouse click. I found this shift in control to make the game more approachable than other traditional adventure games.
Something which grabbed me almost immediately is the gorgeous pixel art the game adapts. The bright and colorful neon which is the background had me fascinated with the world that is being built. Every environment has a story to tell, and each room looked different than the next. The paintings in the rooms and the furniture told you about the person who lives there. It stood out and made me curious to explore each and every environment. Once I made it outside the first area, I was in awe of the skyline. The pinks, yellows, greens told me what kind of city was being built. A massive metropolis which feels and functions like a real city.
The game takes notes from titles like Thimbleweed Park and Gunpoint. The game’s humor is something which stood out to me, I wasn’t expecting it. Jumping into a game which has a noir story, but having a funny line every now and then was a nice refresher. It showed me that people in this world have a bright side when everything seems dark. The world building around this noir story is something which makes it feel lived in.
Because it is an adventure game, there are tons of puzzles which involve exploration. In the first half of the demo, I was tasked with fixing the lighting situation in the house because your robot is afraid of the dark. After I turned on the lights, I found myself faced with finding a sword to put in the hands of this haunted suit of armor. This puzzle was a such a different change for the world it was showing me. Another fun puzzle was when I made it outside, and I found myself playing as the cat William. I had to find a way to get to the home of Vito Bourbon, a mobster cat. It had me running atop roofs, going through vents only to get quizzed by another cat.
Tales of the Neon Sea is a game which lives up to its name. The game is bright, colorful, and intriguing. I was bummed when my demo was over because I wanted to see what was gonna happen next. The approachability of the game is one of the biggest highlights and allows for you to just slip into this gorgeous world.
Tales of the Neon Sea is slated for release for sometime this year.