You’ve probably never heard of Neon Struct, which is fair enough. It’s a small indie game by a relatively unknown solo developer, and it launched a day after The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Not exactly a recipe for a chart-conquering smash hit, but you really should consider playing this stylish, elegant, neon-lit stealth adventure—especially if you’re a fan of the Deus Ex series.
Neon Struct: Die Augen der Welt, to give it its full name, wears its influences proudly on the sleeve of its cool leather trench coat. Its hero is Jillian Cleary—y’know, as in JC—and the first door code you encounter is 0451. On a deeper level, the game’s systems-driven stealth, gadgets, hacking, and multi-path levels owe a lot to Ion Storm’s masterpiece.
Cleary is a government agent who has been framed for treason, and is now on the run from her former paymasters. This is a dark, pessimistic vision of a dystopian surveillance state so out of control that every person in America has been secretly implanted with a tracking chip. It’s your job to expose this sinister plot, clear your name, and like any good cyberpunk, smash the system.
Neon Struct strips the immersive sim down to its purest essence. While JC Denton has access to silenced pistols, electric prods, and other high-tech weaponry, Cleary is limited to sneaking up on enemies and knocking them out—or just avoiding them altogether. It’s a pacifist game at heart, which forces you to play carefully, quietly, and methodically at all times.
But what Cleary lacks in firepower, she makes up for with a collection of neat gadgets. They let you scramble cameras, turn briefly invisible, silence your footsteps, or disable nearby lights and plunge an area into darkness. This is where the Thief-style light gem comes into play, visually representing how well (or not) the shadows in the environment are concealing you.
If you get spotted, it’s easy to outrun the guards and make another attempt. The AI isn’t great, which is perhaps to be expected in a small-scale indie game like this. But you’re only cheating yourself if you brute force your way through it. The real thrill in Neon Struct lies in getting through a tightly patrolled, highly secure area totally undetected—and doing it with a bit of style too.
Let’s talk about the game’s knee slide ability, because it’s possibly the best thing about it. If you hit C while sprinting you’ll transition seamlessly into a slide, and it feels fantastic—especially if you slide out of an enemy’s line of sight at the last possible second, just as you finish hacking something. It’s cyberpunk as fuck and completely silent too, making it incredibly useful for stealth.
In another nod to Deus Ex, between missions you can explore safe zones and city hubs with secret areas and side quests. Neon Struct backs its stealth up with a few interesting characters and a twisting conspiracy plot that unravels in a compelling way. The simple, blocky character models and spartan world scream low budget, but the narrative still manages to be meaningful.
There’s something oddly beautiful about the game’s stark, minimalist visuals too. The neon signs, ominous brutalist architecture, and oppressive atmosphere are quite striking at times. You’ll never mistake Neon Struct for anything other than a scrappy, ambitious indie game with big ideas, but that’s all part of its charm. The developer aimed high and skilfully pulled it off.
Spider-Man: No Way Home Is The MCU At Its Absolute Worst
Peter Parker’s adventure into the metaverse could have been so much more.
About The Author
Andy Kelly (201 Articles Published)
Andy Kelly is a Features Editor at TheGamer. He loves detective games, anything with a good story, weird indie stuff, and Alien: Isolation.