NEON Squad Tactics Review

• written by Krist Duro
NEON Squad Tactics Review

If you’re in it for the tactical combat and the cyberpunk aesthetic, Neon Squad Tactics has a lot to offer and with some tweaks and updates, it could truly shine on the Quest 3

Neon Squad Tactics on the Quest 3 offers a compelling mix of turn-based strategy and cyberpunk aesthetics. The gameplay is heavily inspired by XCOM, where you command a squad of up to four units, each equipped with two action points per turn. These points can be used for movement, attacks, or utilizing various gadgets, but more on that later.

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An image showcasing the game described in this article.

The game’s narrative, set against the backdrop of a cyberpunk nightclub, is minimalistic and serves more as a context for the tactical combat than as a deeply engaging story. If you are looking for a rich narrative, you might find this aspect lacking. However, the setting is atmospheric, providing a fitting environment for the tactical skirmishes.

One of the game’s significant strengths is its strategic depth, with each battle requiring careful planning and tactical maneuvering. Moving your units around the map, strategically thinking what enemy to attack and with what type of weapon ,in case they have shields or armour, is really satisfying. However, the controls can sometimes be a source of frustration. The Quest 3 is usually reallyy good with controls, but here you might struggle a little bit with precision, especially when you are trying to pickup and move your units and navigating the game’s multi-leveled maps. This can result in units moving to unintended positions without the ability to undo actions, potentially jeopardizing carefully laid plans.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Another thing that I found to be missing, when you are about to move your units, is that you can't really preemtively see the reach of your attacks and more often than not, once you move, your attacks can't reach the enemies. Maybe if there was some sort of color coding based on your equipped weapons before you move, that could solve this issue.

The other "problem" I faced when playing Neon Squad Tactics is that there's no limit to what you can equip your units with, let me explain. Currently there are five types of units you can unlock and add to your squad. Using currency earned in game, you can upgrade these units and unlock new weapons, gadgets, grenades and special moves for them to use. This is good. However, you are free to equip these different elemental weapons, grenades etc to any of your available units. Where's the problem with this, you might ask? Well, this kinda breakes the balance of the game. Once I figured this out, I equiped all four of my units with 2 different snipers and 2 different grenades, of course mixing and matching the different elemental types so I could disable shields or armor. This makes every encounter way to easy as I could comfortably kill enemies from very far away long before they were able to reach and attack me. Now I don't know if this was intended from the developers as to me it feels like an oversight and for balance's sake, I would love to see them patch this out where you only have one instance of any given weapon, not multiple.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

There's also a multiplayer component of Neon Squad Tactics that adds the potential for extended play, but the current lack of active players make it nearly impossible to find matches, resulting in a predominantly solo experience.

Visually, Neon Squad Tactics employs a vibrant neon-heavy art style, perfectly capturing the cyberpunk vibe. The bright, colorful graphics add to the game’s unique charm, though this visual style might not appeal to everyone. The sound design complements the visual experience, with decent audio effects and background music that enhance the overall immersion, though it doesn’t particularly stand out. One additional thing I would like to see improved in a future patch is in regards to the music. Currently, the music comes out only from the DJ booth so you only hear it on your right or left ear, depending on where you stand. Hey devs, if you are reading this, it is a nightclub after all so please blast the music from all corners of the room.

An image showcasing the game described in this article.

Overall, Neon Squad Tactics is a solid entry into the turn-based strategy genre, offering enjoyable gameplay and an interesting cyberpunk setting. Balance issues with weapon equipping and the sparse multiplayer scene detract from the overall experience. Nevertheless, the tactical gameplay shines through, making it a worthwhile, if imperfect, addition to the genre. With some tweaks and updates, this game could truly shine on the Quest 3. Having said all that, I still recommend this game. Thanks for reading!

The game was reviewed on a Quest 3 via a promo copy provided by the developers. NEON Squad Tactics is available on Meta Quest and PCVR.

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