[EGD] That’s One Tough Neuron

Review by tbremise on Monday, November 5th 2012
Click to play Neocortex

Neocortex is a game created by troyio

A review of “Neocortex” by Troyio

A P.E.G. Studios sponsored game.

Game type: PPG

Written by tbremise

Opening Remarks: “Neocortex”, another great game entry into the Epic Game Drop (EGD) competition. I must admit, first hearing the title, I connected it to the villain from crash bandicoot, but ironically, the title of this game and of that famous villain mean the same thing, a crucial part of the human brain. Troyio had a well-developed idea when he decided to make this gem. The name itself is intriguing, and the concept even better. Troyio has shown his abilities in ppg making before, so I expected some great things from this game.

Review: The story of this game is very well developed, which helped move the levels along as you reach for the final goal. As it is stated, the pre-game story is that you were an orphaned child that is taken in by a scientist who works with military weapons, (come on, it is Classic stuff already), later, you go into the army, and when you come out, you have some issues, with your brain. Alright, so if that is the pre-game story, how on earth could you develop anything to go with it and be just as exciting? Well, in the game, you play as a super neuron inside your characters brain, fighting the enemies’ antibodies to gain control again. The Super neuron, I am going to call it SN, is depicted as a simple-looking, “glowing” circle that has the ability to control neurons to help it on its mission to save your brain. This SN is sometimes hard to maneuver, with the motion touchy and slippery; this along with the fragileness of the regular neurons makes the game a challenge, but a good one.

When you first start off, you need to maneuver through an invisible labyrinth; this theme comes back again later in the game and adds to the challenge. This first challenge can be frustrating at times, which may be the game’s first downfall. If you cannot immerse your gamers into your world within the first three levels, you are bound to lose some; some may find it boring or just too difficult. Even with this obstacle in the way, if you manage to get past the first real level (level 3); you are in for a treat. Each level challenges you to maneuver through a series of mazes, covered with traps (antibodies) aplenty. I have to admit, quite a few levels, specifically the two invisible labyrinth ones, have hypnotic looking backgrounds, which play “mind” games on you, which I think gives the game some extra appeal. Who knows what the inside of our brains looks like at the structural level? Troyio shows us what he thinks in this game by giving it his own flare.

Traps were definitely a big part of this game, but you get to approach these ones differently than most. Let me explain what I mean. In the game, the traps are antibodies, you must figure out a way to slip by these in order to reach your goal in each level, but you have the option to sometimes removing a trap or two with the neurons that your SN can control, so you need to make some wise choices. But even with this option, these traps add some great conflict with what would be otherwise just a regular maze game. That wouldn’t have been a bad thing in this game’s case, as even without the traps, the mazes were already difficult.

Okay, so not many people have beaten this game, in fact only two other members other than Troyio have, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun with the game for how far you get into it, the story just works so well that you forget you are playing a ppg from sploder, and you can become immersed in the unique mind of Troyio. As you follow the SN, you are also unmasking a mystery that might in the end surprise you, and the very ending has such a surprising twist that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I was, so you will just have to beat it yourself if you want to find out. I will say this though, unless you are a dedicated and stubborn gamer like me, you may have little chance at beating this game, but even with that, I still wouldn’t have gotten very far if this game wasn’t addicting as well, as you try to help unlock the mind of “Thomas Cornell” (the character’s name) in a multitude of ways.

Okay, now for some of the downfalls of the game. I must admit, the game is very original, has some great mazes and puzzles, and even good music selection, but even with those good attributes, there are some flaws. One thing to note is something I brought up earlier, that with the difficulty level for the first real level being high, you are at risk of losing a mass amount of game followers, granted, this is only a mere issue because of those dedicated players, I think you should at least make the first one simple enough for most to beat. I understand the thought though, weeding out the weaklings from the large pool of players is not a bad idea, but perhaps this idea was not approached in the correct way. The second thing to note is that the regular neurons are pretty fragile, I believe this was intended, just thought I should mention it because of all the times I had to restart because one of them just decided to break out of nowhere. There is always issue of lag, but this game only had some in level 7, so no big deal, but the real issue on level 7 is that, twice while I played, my character disappeared randomly, forcing me to restart. I understand this to be a glitch that you cannot fix, but still rather annoying.

Okay, let’s get to the scoring.

The Good: It is a unique concept for a game, clever puzzles, good music choice

The Bad: The difficulty right from the beginning (lose gamers early)

The Ugly: The Random disappearing character on level 7

Gameplay: 4/5 (Clever story)

Creativity: 4/5 (The name was clever, unique concept)

Decoration/Background: 3.5/5

Traps: 4/5

Fun/Addictiveness: 4/5 (It is addicting, but has some minor things)

Conclusion: 3.9/5

What are my thoughts of it being feature worthy, it is a good game, unique, and I believe that it would be suitable for a feature, if not just above the grading line. (If only we could go inside our brain, we could see if it stands up to Troyio’s standards.)


Neocortex Reviewed by tbremise on Monday, November 5th 2012. [EGD] That’s One Tough Neuron - A game review written by tbremise for the game 'Neocortex' by troyio. Rating: 4