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    jp's Neurovoider (PS4)

    [July 13, 2021 06:19:54 PM]
    The back of the box says "futuristic twin-stick shooter RPG" which is basically all you need to know. I'd add "rogue-like" to it and 4-player couch co-op.

    So, I played this the other evening with the kids - so it was 3 of us. We went in blind and came out confused/ok? You each control a "tank" that shoots and you collect loot which you then use to upgrade and swap parts out on your tank. There's two weapon slots, and some other components. There are 4 (or was it 3?) different types of tanks and certain components are for the different types of tanks. You can switch your tank-type in between levels which is fine.

    The upgrading/swapping parts out was perhaps the most involved aspect of the game - especially as we started to figure things out. Each player can pick up loot, but that gets locked to that player - so there isn't really a shared pool of gear and you often end up with the wrong gear for your build. You can scrap it for resources to upgrade your existing gear and the gear comes in different levels of rarity. Generally though, you're always upgrading to the stuff that dropped in the most recent level since the upgrades are capped and the power levels go up pretty fast. So, coordinating gear among players becomes an issue. There is a feature that allows you to "loan" out gear so others can equip it but a transfer system would have been much better especially if it had a QOL upgrade (e.g. send all gear of X type to player Y). I only bring this up because stuff on loan can still be scrapped by mistake...and then the other player is left with an empty slot...

    The main gameplay levels are "fine" - lots of stuff on makes it hard to tell what's going on and there is a bit of tactical thinking required - but mostly of the "don't go too far ahead to quickly". So, our experience was that we spent more time in fiddling around with our gear than actually playing the game. Although we made it all the way to the boss on our first (and only) run, the overall impression was not that good. It's possible there's a whole depth of secret things to discover/find and so on - but the first run was just not that notable or interesting.

    There's a system for skipping levels - which was odd. I'm not sure if the idea is to just skip time - as in, get to the end sooner, or if there's some other benefit (more risk for more reward). We skipped three or so levels in the end just to end the run sooner which, in hindsight, isn't really a good sign.

    I've been thinking about how it compares to Enter the Gungeon, which both kids really enjoy and is arguably a game in a similar vein. The levels, enemies (and bossed) are definitely more interesting in terms of variety - and the moment-to-moment gameplay seems more interesting as well. THere doesn't seem to be a way to dodge/roll attacks here (one of the tank archetypes has a shield) which seems like the main problem. There are moments where you just "take the hits" hoping you'll be able to live through it and the get healed up a little bit. In between levels you end up (at least I did) spending lots of your loot simply to heal up. So, the core loop here doesn't seem that compelling interesting.

    Again, perhaps there's layers of depth/secrets/lore - but the game doesn't even seem to hint at them to drive curiosity. At least from me. I could be wrong and a second run would definitely provide more insight. But, I'm not sure I'm that enthused to try it out solo? Perhaps a run or two just to answer some of the questions I still have...
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    jp's Neurovoider (PS4)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Tuesday 6 July, 2021

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    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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