Neko Journey (PS4) Review with stream

Unlike the weirdly experimental Neko Secret Room and the bizarre open world-style Neko Secret Homecoming, Neko Journey is a 2.5D platformer. Developed by a small team and published by EastAsiaSoft, this latest Neko title lacks polish and direction.

Borrowing assets from other games created by this developer, like Drunken Fist 2 for example, the visuals are purposely composed of chunky polygons. Not to be confused with low quality, it just definitely has a unique visual style that is carried through many of their titles. Unfortunately, the soundtrack isn’t great and the mumbling voice work is ear piercingly horrific.  It is like Animal Crossing-speak only not cute and highly annoying.

While the voice work can be excused since it can be toggled to the off position in the menu, the poor translation cannot. Also, the floaty controls lack precision so many jumps rely on luck. There is no attack maneuver but, like Mario, Neko can jump on the heads on enemies to defeat them.  Boss battles are also acts of attrition and contain wonky hit boxes. If you watch my stream embedded in this article, you’ll see that there are some poorly placed and poorly designed stage hazards that do not add to the fun of the game; they make it annoying and frustrating.  Also, since this is 2.5D, sometimes elements in the foreground interfere with your field of vision and background elements can be easily mistaken as interactive assets. For example, I fell off a bridge because there was a wooden plank in the background which looks like it was a natural extension of the walkable foreground.

At an attempt to increase playability, the game rates the player’s performance at the end of each stage. By defeating all the enemies, collecting all the coins, and beating the Par times, the player can earn 3 stars per stage. However, the star related to time is tedious on almost all stages. You really need to speed run in order to unlock that one star. And by the way, these stars don’t really mean anything or actually do anything. Coins, at least on rare occasions, can be spent to earn a poorly translated tip on how to defeat a boss.

While it is by no means a quality platformer, PS4 players might want to take note since each Trophy is tied to completing each stage. Sure, you’ll have to finish the game to unlock that Platinum but it only takes a couple hours. And like other games in the series you can modify the outfit and physical features of Neko in the customizing menu, but this doesn’t alter gameplay in any way.

Not As Good As: Ayo The Clown

Also Try: Stitchy in Tooki Trouble

Don’t Forget About: MagiCat

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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