Overview – developed by WSS Playground and Tiny Cactus Studio, with publishing by Idea Factory International, Dimension Tripper Neptune TOP NEP is a third-person rail shooter taking place in the Neptunia universe. Blast your way through five unique stages, getting friends to assist you and take down the boss of each zone. This title is available exclusively on Steam, a link to the game will be at the bottom of this review.
Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Idea Factory International for providing the copy of Dimension Tripper Neptune TOP NEP that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. I will be skipping the story segment and moving directly into the gameplay section.
Gameplay – this title is a third-person rail shooter, similar to that of Space Harrier and Panorama Cotton. As older Neptune, the player travels into the screen shooting and slashing enemies that attack from the front, while also avoiding the hazards that fill the stages. Each location has its own unique theme, with matching enemies and a boss at the end of the stage, like the first stage which has a forest theme and vegetable enemies, culminating with a boss fight against Giant Eggplant.
To battle enemies, Neptune can use her blaster to battle foes at a distance and an energy sword to slash them up close. The two attacks are very different, with the sword being the stronger option at the cost of range, making it useful for fighting enemies that jump into the screen. There is a nice flow to the way that action flows, with fluid movements that make combat reactive and fun. Alongside the attacks that Neptune can use, there is also a special mechanic that makes this game unique.
Throughout the stages, coins appear that Neptune can collect filling up a bar on screen. When the bar is filled completely a support character called a Wingmate will appear, assisting Neptune for a predetermined time increasing the amount of fire power that can be used. There are several Wingmates to activate, going through in a preset order during the course of the game. These support characters can make the battles much easier so good timing of coin collects is useful.
This is a fairly short game consisting of only 5 stages, however, there is a lot of replay value on offer as there is a global leaderboard for players to challenge others across the world. Players can set their scores on either difficulty setting, giving players a challenge to try and set the highest score that they can. The length of the game is to its benefit in this regard, making for a title that players can learn easily and become competitive with other players.
Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.
Controls – the controls for TOP NEP are simple, four movement directions, a blaster button and a sword button. The game is playable with a keyboard, offering a left or right handed control method which works well from an accessibility standpoint. There is also controller support for this title, using a supported controller. This is the preferable way to play this title as the use of a thumbstick or D-pad makes movement much more consistent, with zero input lag or delay.
Difficulty – there are two options for difficulty that players can choose when playing the game. The first is Normal, which gives players the ability to continue when defeated and offers greater life regeneration between stages. The other is Hard, which gives the player a single life and reduced life regeneration. Both difficulty options are balanced well, offering a fair but challenging experience for all players who want to give the game a shot.
Presentation – the visual style for this title is modern, but with a retro aesthetic, consisting of pixel art sprites for the characters and environments. The overall design of the game, adds to the charm of the experience, with bosses and environments using references to classic games. The soundtrack also adds to the retro feel of the title, with chiptune compositions that fit each stage well, alongside boss music that keeps action flowing at a steady pace.
Final Thoughts – when I first saw the trailer for this game, I got excited to play it. I am a fan of third person rail shooters, like Panorama Cotton so this was definitely up my alley. I can happily recommend this release to everyone, because even though it is short, the quality of gameplay and low price make it definitely worth a purchase. The retro style visuals, gameplay and sound combine well to make an excellent accompaniment to the Neptunia series of games.
In the end, I give Dimension Tripper Neptune TOP NEP a final score of 5/5. This release is an excellent accompaniment to the larger Neptuina series, offering a fun and enjoyable experience that everyone can enjoy. The difficulty is balanced well, with two modes that fit a range of skill levels, alongside a global leaderboard that promotes improvement and competition between players. if you want to check this game out for yourself, a link will be below.
Link to Steam version (HERE)