Neon White Review – Holy Hell

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In 2021, whereas interviewing creator Ben Esposito about then-upcoming Neon White, he informed me he wasn’t attempting to make a sport interesting to everybody. He wished Neon White to enchantment to “actually particular individuals.”

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Put one other manner, as Esposito stated in one of many sport’s trailers, it is a sport made for “freaks.”

I suppose that makes me a freak, then. As a result of Neon White is my favourite sport I’ve performed all yr – by a big margin.

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You assume the position of Neon White; a lifeless murderer pulled from Hell for a divine competitors. Demons overrun Heaven, so the powers that be process White and a bunch of damned with cleansing up the mess. The banished soul with one of the best – and quickest – rating wins the chance to spend eternity in Heaven. They do that by operating as quick as potential via varied districts of the Pearly Gates, blowing away demons with a various arsenal of heavenly weapons. 

With uncommon exceptions, enjoying via any particular person stage of Neon White takes lower than a minute. From the bounce, it stresses you play as quick as potential always. It additionally emphasizes replaying ranges for more and more higher occasions. Working and leaping really feel wonderful; they’re fluid, fast, and provides an impression of floating all through a stage. 

But it surely’s the weapons the place Neon White shines. You choose up firearms by way of playing cards strewn inside a stage, every having two capabilities. The primary is solely taking pictures. The second, nonetheless, is the discard possibility, which grants White a quick platforming benefit. Discarding pistols offers a double bounce, shotguns blast you within the route you are going through, rifles straight ahead, SMGs ship you hurtling towards the bottom, and rocket launchers give a grapple shot. 

Ranges demand mastery of all these choices; you have to run, shoot, bounce, and use discards at exactly the best second to achieve your vacation spot, whereas additionally killing each demon in a stage. I beloved attempting and retrying ranges again and again till I lastly received the mixture of strikes right, after which I beloved, much more, attempting to whittle my occasions all the way down to the “Ace” rating. My coronary heart was usually firmly lodged in my throat as I crossed the end line, and few issues really feel higher than besting my occasions by literal tenths of a second.

From its mechanical basis, Neon White is designed across the concept of speedrunning. Greater than that, it seems designed round YouTube videos of speedrunners breaking video games, flying via ranges with pinpoint accuracy like a well-armed ballerina. Particularly in its again half, you’ll really feel as cool as these movies look. 

Flying over enemies, taking pictures as you rocket above their heads, sending your self plummeting to earth to slip throughout slim ledges, grappling your manner again into the stratosphere, then utilizing explosions to bounce round to the end line. Doing all of it in actually seconds with no errors, feeling easy as in the event you’ve practiced for years, not simply 15 to twenty minutes; that is the bottom of Neon White, not solely the high-level play. It is exceptional for such exact and complicated gameplay to really feel so easy, however Neon White pulls it off in any respect turns. It is probably the most enjoyable video games I’ve performed in years. 

In actual fact, I can not cease enjoying it. Practically 30 hours in, I’ve no plans to cease till I get an Ace rank in each stage. Fortunately, the extent design is top-notch and, save for 2 or three exceptions, not often irritating. I’m nonetheless flying via the sport, beating all my earlier occasions and loving almost each second. I even care in regards to the world leaderboards, a private first, as I do not suppose I’ve ever paid a lot consideration to rankings in another sport. 

I even love Neon White’s stupid-but-charming story – that of White attempting to determine why he and his workforce of fellow assassins are lifeless. It labored on me greater than I anticipated. For the reason that story’s informed by way of visible novel, I felt compelled to discover each character’s storyline, giving them items to unlock new dialogue and sidequests. In moments of weak spot, I even laughed at obnoxious dialogue like when Neon Violet stated Neon White was man, “The type that can catch a woman’s spit along with his mouth!”


It additionally helps that aesthetically Neon White scratches particular and uncared for itches. It’s paying homage to Japanese motion video games that do not actually exist anymore, like Killer7 and El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. It remembers anime like Trigun and Cowboy Bebop and music from now-defunct bands like Drop Useless, Beautiful and The Blood Brothers. Its heavenly-yet-violent aesthetic is slick, hanging, and stuffed with angle. Just like the tee-shirt part of a Scorching Subject and the anime aisle of a Suncoast Video collided into one another. You may think about 480p AMVs of Neon White playthroughs set to “The Show Must Go On” or “Love Rhymes With Hideous Car Wreck.” You may think about seeing children in brightly-colored Neon White shirts at a Style of Chaos tour date. Hell, Steven Blum even voices White! 

If any of which means something to you, you’re the “actually particular” individual for whom Esposito made this sport. If the above reads like a unique language, you will seemingly nonetheless take pleasure in Neon White, however you are hardly the important thing demographic. 

Neon White achieves every part it units out to with exceptional success. Not solely is it probably the most entertaining experiences I’ve performed in years, nevertheless it additionally speaks to a extremely particular viewers many simply do not anymore. It is for weirdos, misfits, and dorks. Neon White is among the finest video games of the yr, and it might be a colossal mistake to not test it out. 

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