The purpose of the game is to get a permanent pass through the pearly gates by fighting demons and racing to a goal in the shortest amount of time, which the player may do by traversing different parts of heaven. Players will run into other “Neons” like White, find out more about White’s backstory, and uncover the secrets some of the Believers are hiding as they go through the gameplay.
As players progress through the game’s levels, they’ll find soul cards that can be used to buy firearms, including pistols, rifles, and shotguns. These are utilized not only for combat against demons but also for transportation. If you drop a pistol, you’ll get an extra leap, while dropping a rifle will grant you a quick burst of forward speed. To progress through a level and reach the final goal, players must first clear the area of all demons.
To advance in the game, you must earn a specific number of medals across a variety of difficulties in each level. Each soul card has a specific role in battle and exploration, and the game’s difficulty is right so that progress is smooth and satisfying.
To achieve faster times, most players will have to replay each level many times. But, Neon White has made some thoughtful decisions to make this experience more tolerable.
The first is the ease with which the run may be restarted if the player is unhappy with the results.
Another choice in design that keeps things going in Neon White is that after a certain number of attempts, each level will reveal a tip to completing the level in a more efficient method, usually other paths that shave off the time needed to get the medals required to advance with the plot. With the help of these cues, you can learn and practice the finer points of supplementary motion choices.
With the help of an extra hop from a pistol card, you might be able to cross a gap that seems impossible to cross, or you might be able to use the dash ability of a rifle card in a less obvious way to increase its effectiveness.
The combat takes a back seat to the fast-paced platforming, which is exactly how it should have been designed.Since Neon White is good at moving around, players may want to focus on that instead of aiming, though auto-aim is helpful if players are pointing in the general direction of their opponent.
Each level also contains a secret reward, which is another feature that encourages repeat play. You may deliver these presents to specific NPCs to advance the plot and get access to further difficulties. Each of these problems seems to have something to do with the person the player is talking to.
Examples of such challenges include “teaching” stages designed to help players gain more sophisticated strategies for using soul cards by interacting with Neon Red. In contrast, Neon Violet, who is both insane and obsessed with death, presents players with challenges that focus on dodging deadly hazards.
While all this is fantastic, the way that Neon White manages leaderboards is very ingenious.
There’s a gold medal at stake in each level, and it’s rather easy to get if players choose the “planned,” or most clear, path. But, a worldwide leaderboard is not revealed until the player either gets a perfect score on the level or replays it enough times to gain the greatest insight. This is great since players won’t be discouraged by the world rankings’ unreachable timings until they’ve improved to the point where they can actually compete with such times.
The visual novel elements are meant more for comedy and may turn some people off. Most players will be able to guess when the “amnesiac” plot twist occurs, and I have a sense that there will be certain people who dislike certain characters. Putting aside personal preference, the very existence of a plot may impede the momentum of Neon White’s rapid and precise movement play. I appreciated the opportunity to catch my breath after a particularly challenging sequence of levels, although I recognize that not everyone will share my enthusiasm. Load times on the Switch can be long, which is another cause for annoyance when time is of the essence.
Those little issues didn’t detract from my enjoyment of Neon White because the game is so well designed and executed. The visuals and soundtrack are drenched in class, the gameplay is intuitive and provides enough room for difficulty without expecting perfection, and the story is moving, albeit a little clichéd at points. Don’t dismiss this game out of hand if you find it even somewhat intriguing.
Fast-paced platforming and little fighting are the hallmarks of Neon White. Players take on the role of White, a sinner called a “Neon” who is good with guns but often forgets things and feels bad about himself.
Lead developer at Lost Rabbit Digital. Writer for Good2Games. Boden began freelancing for Good2Game in 2021. He got his start making games and is still interested in the inner workings of games via the modding and speedrunning communities. He is addicted to co-op crafting games, lengthy novels, and multiplayer cryptid hunts.