Quick Look: Neon White
Neon White seems to be taking the gaming world by storm. A game I’d not really heard of or considered in any way, then suddenly it’s on every podcast I’m listening to. I’m seeing Neon White speed run tournaments and people obsessing over their runs.
I’m no speed runner, but I do like a game that has an obvious and satisfying style. Is Neon White a gateway to speed-running games? Probably not, but it’s scratching an itch right now, and I have to say, it’s simple but impressive.
So, what the heck is Neon White?
The artwork and perhaps screenshots you’ll see, don’t really convey what the game is at all. And actually, if you were to just watch the (many and long) cutscenes you would think it’s maybe an anime visual story.
Neon White is absolutely dripping in its visual stylings. Absolutely hitting all the right notes, whilst being relatively simple, with small levels, it looks fantastic and the bright, sharp colours help you massively as you need to visually keep an eye ahead on every run.
Yep, I’ve explained nothing……
So, in Neon White, you play an assassin, aptly named White, and eventually “Neon White”. You and a few other Neons (assassins) have been brought from Hell, into Heaven, to clear out an infestation of demons. This is done by getting around various levels and running through killing them as you go.
A first-person shooter to all intents and purposes. However, once you finish a level and see the scoreboards, you’re swiftly dragged into something much deeper than a quick demon hunt on a hundred or so levels.
The heart of the game
There’s loads of story to unpack and voice-acted dialogue throughout. That’s pretty impressive based purely on the amount of cutscenes there are. Largely still with quick changes to the odd motion or gesture form the characters. Not fully animated, but voiced and visually changing as required.
Let that go, though. Honestly, if I’m honest, I get bored. For a game so tightly built around fast pace, the story element really feels drawn out. Neon White is something else entirely though, the anime stylings are one thing, but the addictive, second-shaving gameplay are where the real meat is.
Each level is timed, and those times can net you a medal. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Red (developer times). I’ve very quickly become obsessed with the platinum rank on all levels.
You run though, master your weapons, the demon locations, and then you run, run run and then run again. Slowly building up additional hints on the map to show you a better route, chasing your own ghost to push you harder and harder.
I’ve found myself mis-timing a jump and just automatically starting again, because I can’t drop a single split-second. It’s not obsessive for me, just yet. Although I can see it not being too far away…..
You finish a run, and unlock a leader board. Showing the global leaders and their times, or your Steam friends an their times. Now, sadly, none of my Steam friends own or play Neon White, so I don’t have any personal rivalries going on right now, but I’m happy enough smashing those platinum medals.
Quick note on weapons, too.
Sure, Neon White’s story focuses on your requirement to kill the demons, and it gives you an array of weapons to do so. Dropped as cards, each colour is a different weapon, almost all guns.
So yeah, run, jump, click and shoot. That’s not where it stops through, all the weapons have an alternate mode, and that’s how you start to really plan your route.
Some weapons let aid speed or height, some act as an explosion for group of enemies, which you can also use to boost your jump or break down a wall.
I went from running and gunning, to choosing what weapons to use at specific junctures of each map. I still have to kill the demons, but Neon White has me obsessing with my pace, so if I can go fast and far, I will. All the while strategizing between which alternative fire mode to use, and which weapon to use to kill the demon.
Speed running is the addiction, strategy is the bit that feeds it. Lots of times in Neon White, you find yourself thinking “what if Used that here instead?”.
Oh man, how is such a simple game so addictive?
I think Neon White is my new Vampire Survivors. Albeit, not quite so hands-off. I’m often thinking about jumping back in for a few more runs, wanting to get those medals clear and working on beating my own ghost.
I’d love some personal rivalry, but I’m glad it’s not actually happening yet, because I’m not sure I’d have to willpower to play anything else if I knew I needed to beat some one by a tenth of a second, just to gloat until inevitably losing the lead and going again.
If you enjoyed the Titanfall 2 training course at the beginning of the game, I feel like that’s the best description I can give you. Keep moving, push to find optimal routes and ways to take down the enemies and get that quick and quicker time.
Combined with a clever weapon and combat mechanic and a nice looking (but long) story line running as a thread throughout. Neon White is a wonderful, bright and addictive game that I can’t get enough of.
Now……lets just do a couple more runs.
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