NeonXSZ has been hanging out on Desura for almost a year now, slowly growing and refining itself into its current form. That form is still incomplete, comprising about 30 hours of Descent-style first person dogfighting mixed with tons of loot gathering, but that’s just the bit that’s been polished by repeated testing. The additional dozens of hours you can sink into the game are still plenty fun, letting you gather more parts and higher-powered items, experiment with endless loadout variations, and cause unending havoc to whichever faction you feel like picking on next. It’s a big game and only going to grow larger over time, and now it’s got a Steam Early Access release date of August 22.
I’ve talked about NeonXSZ a couple of times already, so this is the short version of what the game is all about- you grab a ship hull from an initial selection of three, each balanced for a different play style. Fly around with a full six degrees of freedom and start trouble with one of the four factions inhabiting a giant station, collecting all the loot you can to unlock new everything- engines, boosters, missiles, guns, hulls, and a large number of gadgets of varying effect. Experiment with all the toys you earn to find the perfect balance of speed, destructive power, and defense, and never get too comfortable because there’s always something new to play with. Short-range teleporters, rotating high-powered shields, impenetrable walls of limited duration, AI drones that fly along beside you or stationary turrets you can place strategically, and many more goodies are ready to serve whatever play-style you feel like developing. Everything has weight which effects ship handling, and there are only so many slots available depending on hull capabilities, but a little careful balancing and skillful flying can see you taking on enemies several levels above your own for massive loot hauls. Every tool, upgrade, and hull an enemy has is yours to plunder, once you’ve collected enough data to unlock it, making for a fun loot treadmill that’s very easy to get caught up in.
NeonXSZ is available now on Desura, but if you already own the game it’s worth noting that you won’t need to start over unless you want to. The Steam version automatically finds your save, so if you feel like getting a jump on Steam’s Early Access release then now is as good a time as any.