Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review

Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review

Crack the code before it cracks you.

  • System: PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Zodiac Interactive
  • Developer: Palm Pioneer
  • Release Date: April 30, 2019

Tales of the Neon Sea - Official Trailer 1

Who it Caters to

Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review
Tales of the Neon Sea fuses the modern with the old to create a game that’s not only fascinating on a visual level, but very exciting to play. The popularity and growth of the indie scene has skyrocketed over the past couple years, with the quality of each title dramatically increasing to even compete with several AAA titles. This is an intriguing adventure that throws you into a world full of tension, corruption, and mistrust, where it’s now up to you to unravel the mysteries of society. If you love a game with adventure, depth, and impactful gameplay, then continue reading!
Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review

What to Expect

Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review
Tales of the Neon Sea boasts some of the best pixel art we’ve seen in an indie title thus far, with every detail given just the right amount of attention. The world in which you navigate around in is a cyberpunk-themed China, where a lot of mysterious events are taking place and it’s up to you to try and unravel them. Many aspects of the game revolve heavily around using your logic to solve sprightly designed puzzles, along with gathering items in order to unlock new paths. The game isn’t too long when compared to other titles of its kind (it currently sits at around 15 hours), but the folks at Palm Pioneer and Zodiac Interactive have promised that they’ll be releasing new chapters of the current story arc sometime in Autumn, so even more reason to want to play! Look forward to a fascinating story that encourages you to investigate murder scenes, examine intriguing evidence, and use your intellect to solve the murders step by step.


Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review
The story follows a now retired police veteran detective who spends most of his days in a drunken daze, taking on random jobs from whoever arouses his interest. In a world that’s submerged in a sea of artificial neon lights to mask the real corruption that’s unfolding, he must do whatever he can to survive at all costs. However, everything changes when he suddenly receives a tip on a murder case, one which holds the key to tracking down a notorious killer who continuously evaded the law. Now with this new threat unfolding, you must refresh your memories and gather as much information as possible in order to bring peace back to a city full of conspiracy and uncertainty.


Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review
The shining aspect about Tales of the Neon Sea comes directly from its visual allure. Everything within the game pays homage to the classic pixel art design that many of us grew up with, but with a lot more modern charm and attention to detail. The environment really comes to life in a variety of ways, from the interactions you have with other citizens to how you deal with solving cases along the way. If you really pay close attention to the game, you’ll even find some very funny references from other franchises like One Piece or Street Fighter, to name a couple. It’s these little added touches that give Tales of the Neon Sea its true allure and make it an attractive title to play from start to finish.

Sound, Music

Tales of the Neon Sea does a great job of maintaining authenticity with the use of very cyberpunk-inspired music to really help with immersion. With such an intriguing story, it’s always good to have music that fits the vibe of the game and emotionally reels you in as the story gets deeper. There’s no voice acting within the game, which is kind of a bummer, but the dialogue itself is very well written, and it encourages you to use your imagination to conjure up how the main protagonist would sound like.


Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review
Tales of the Neon Sea invites you to take a slow and methodical approach since much of its gameplay is all about detective work and solving puzzles. Paying attention to clues becomes very important to your overall progress, along with reading between the lines in dialogue to pick up on subtle hints as to where to uncover certain things. The game isn’t meant to be played at a fast pace since there’s a lot to discover over time, and every bit of evidence contains something intriguing to dig deeper into. The puzzles in this game aren’t too hard but they still do contain enough of a challenge that stimulates you, and encourages more investigating in order to solve problems. Some puzzles do require some trial and error to get a feel for the pattern, but once you do crack it, things become a little easier.

If you have a controller on hand, we highly suggest using it because it definitely feels more natural to play this game; however, keyboard and mouse is available for those who prefer that option too, so not to worry. There will be some situations where the dialogue will throw you off to really see if you were paying attention or not, and that’s what we enjoyed most. You’re never guaranteed the ending you want, so you will need to sometimes backtrack to make sure there’s no evidence missed along the way.

Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

In the end, Tales of the Neon Sea is 15 hours worth of puzzle-solving and cracking codes, which is very enjoyable if you like these kind of games. It’s an adventure worth playing and with more chapters on the way, we can only show more excitement for what’s to come. Tales of the Neon Sea captivated us with its visual design, and never shied away from going the extra mile to incorporate certain themes to help generate a more livable world.

Honey's Pros:

  • Compelling narrative.
  • Great puzzle-based gameplay that really encourages you to think carefully.
  • Fantastic visuals that bring the game to life in a variety of ways.

Honey's Cons:

  • The game may feel a bit too slow for some, but that’s really a personal thing rather than an actual gameplay issue.

Honey's Final Verdict:

We do hope you found our review of Tales of the Neon Sea to be an enjoyable one, and that you grab the game to experience it all for yourself. It’s an adventure that’s totally worth the grind and the puzzle-based game is enough to keep you coming back for more over time. Be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date on all game related topics, along with other otaku material that’s sure to keep you entertained/

As always, for all things gaming, be sure to keep it locked right here on Honey’s Anime.

Tales-of-the-Neon-Sea-SS-1-560x315 Tales of the Neon Sea - PC/Steam Review


Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!

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