NeXus – One Core
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

It is tough and unforgiving, but NeXus: One Core is also addictive and very rewarding. The solo mode has enough randomized elements and difficulty settings to keep you busy for a while, but it is the local co-op mode where this game truly shines. If you are a fan of the genre you should definitely check out the game, but for players who regularly play local co-op titles this is a must.
Gameplay: Very challenging, but improving your best times through practice is very rewarding.

Graphics: The game looks good, but visual distractions are kept to a minimum.

Gameplay: Some great tunes that really complement the gameplay nicely.

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NeXus – One Core

Developer: Hyde Games | Publisher: Bulkypix / Plug In Digital | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Action  | Website: Official Website | Format: Digital Download

The genre might not be as crowded as it is on mobile devices, but it still takes a bit of effort for endless runners to stand out on PC. Instead of featuring a tacked on story, NeXus: One Core simply provides you with a spaceship and challenges you to survive a high speed obstacle course. It is a pure arcade experience where quick reflexes and a little luck is all you need to have fun.

Unlike the usual side or chase camera views usually associated with the genre, NeXus: One Core is viewed from a top down perspective. This gives the game the appearance of a vertical scrolling shooter, but unfortunately your spaceship is unarmed. It can however toggle between two different colors at the tap of a button and this is something that is essential to your survival. As you weave through the obstacles that make up the randomly generated courses in the game you’ll encounter colored barriers. If you attempt to fly through these barriers when the color of your ship does not match the color of the barrier you are toast. This means you not only have to pay attention to the usual obstacles in your path, but also the color of the barriers in order to change your ship accordingly.

It is quite tricky initially and the fact that some obstacles react to the color of your ship doesn’t make things any easier. For example, a stationary obstacle might start moving as soon as you switch the color of your ship, which means you have to pay attention to your surroundings. Pressing both color switching buttons will “merge” the colors of your ship which allows you to pass barriers that are a mixture of both colors. The biggest challenge in the game is carefully weaving through obstacles at high speeds while reacting fast enough to the upcoming barriers. Until you hone your reflexes, it can be quite frustrating to crash into barriers because you switched to the wrong color or simply wasn’t fast enough to react to the switch. Practice makes perfect though, and since the levels are made up of patterns you can learn to recognize obstacle sequences which make things a little easier.

NeXus: One Core can be played in other solo or co-op, but both share the same game modes. Survival is the most basic mode where you aim to make it as far as possible before your luck runs out. In “Collect” mode there are color coded items on the level that can only be grabbed if your ship is the same color. Finally, life mode gives you three lives instead of the usual one chance to see how far you can get. Initially, only the “Easy” difficulty setting is available for each mode, but as you hit certain milestones you unlock the normal, hard and “Nexus” settings. Along the way you’ll also unlock four new ships to pilot.

As much fun as the game is in solo mode, it is the co-op mode which really sets it apart. This mode is local only, unfortunately, but provides each player with a colored ship. Players cannot switch colors as in the solo mode, which means they have to carefully choose the right barriers to fly through. However, when a mixed color barrier approaches players must merge their ships to pass through. Since players are both in control of the merged ship this can lead to pandemonium and the co-op mode definitely has a more frantic feel. It takes teamwork to make it anywhere, but is really a lot of fun.

Visually the game looks pretty good, but to ensure that you can see what is going on at all times there are no crazy special effects. You can customize your ships colors, so if there are certain color combinations that are more visible to you than others you are free to use these instead of the default blue and yellow. Obviously when you switch the colors of your ship the barrier colors also reflect these changes. In addition to being able to select the resolution and visual quality of the game you can also enable or disable, motion blur, SSAO and anti-aliasing. NeXus: One Core might not look as flashy as some other games, but it does have a nice futuristic look, with plenty of glows and light trails.

The game soundtrack consists of some nice electronic music which is a great match for the fast paced gameplay. Although there is no way to use your own music in the game you can manage the included playlist to ensure that you only hear the tracks you like. While I’m not familiar with the music by Evil Zebra Destroyer, Tall Ships, Laszlo and the others included on the soundtrack the songs never became annoying or obtrusive. Thankfully the music also doesn’t stop and restart each time you die, which is something I really dislike in this genre. Using a controller to maneuver your spaceship is highly recommended and a couple of controllers definitely make things a little easier in the co-op mode. Moving the ship around is handled with the analog stick, while the shoulder buttons are used for switching colors. You can also perform a dash move which allows your ship to cover a short distance very quickly and it is ideal for dodging unexpected obstacles. Tracks are always set in a straight line, but thanks to the layout of the obstacles your ship will be moving sideways a lot which makes the dash move very handy.

Players who demand a story mode or games that are easy in order to have fun might find NeXus: One Core a little too unforgiving. The game definitely requires quick reflexes and persistence, especially if you want to have a shot at the leaderboards. Death is a very frequent occurrence, but thanks to how quickly you can restart and get back in the game, it definitely has that “just one more try” factor going for it. The randomized elements also mean that the replay value is quite high and of course the co-op mode is a must for anyone who regularly has friends over.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows® 7 SP1 / Windows® 8.1
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo 2.4 GHz, AMD
  • Memory: 2 GB MB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX260
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound compatible (must support DirectX 9.0c or higher)
  • Additional Notes: Supports Keyboard +Mouse.Xbox 360 PC compatible controller or comparable XInput-based gamepad recommended
  • OS: Windows® 7 SP1 / Windows® 8.1
  • Processor: Core i5-655K 3.2GHz
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 560, ATI
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectSound compatible (must support DirectX 9.0c or higher)
  • Additional Notes: Supports Keyboard +Mouse.Xbox 360 PC compatible controller or comparable XInput-based gamepad recommended.

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