Neon White Review thumbnail

Neon White Review

A speedrunner's dream

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Nintendo Switch on

Neon White is rated Teen by the ESRB

Blending genres in unique and effective ways must be an exceptionally challenging task yet here's Neon White which does so masterfully.

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Neon White screenshot 1
The cards say I have a lot of double-jumping in my near future

Premise

Neon White has you play as the titular assassin Neon White who's tasked with slaying demons in heaven for a chance to move there from hell. Along the way, you'll meet a few other assassins who seem familiar and as you get to know them, the unfolding story is surprisingly engaging with plenty of humour and quirkiness sprinkled in for good measure. In fact, this unconventional setting with a mysterious cast of characters blends perfectly with the gameplay as it isn't quite like anything I've ever played before. v1d30chumz 35-172-223-251

Impressions

If you know me then you're aware that I generally don't enjoy first-person games but there are a few exceptions such as Borderlands and Deep Rock Galactic. Well, I can add Neon White to that short list because it does an excellent job of offering a sense of speed and finesse to running and jumping through its elaborately designed stages. Thanks to its intuitive difficulty curve, I adapted to its gameplay very easily and almost immediately began enjoying myself despite my usual aversion to first-person games that aren't set on a grid.

Neon White screenshot 2
This tower is a bit too intimidating for me

Gameplay

So, how exactly does Neon White play? I'd describe it as a mix of platforming, shooting, and puzzles and it combines these elements in a seamless way which adds up to one cohesive experience. It does this through the use of cards because each card can either be used as a weapon or disposed of in order to unleash some sort of ability such as a double-jump or bomb. Becoming familiar with what each card type is capable of is all part of the fun and as you reach the trickier stages, flipping through your deck as you soar across the stage at lightning speed while taking out enemies and reaching the goal in record time makes for one satisfying formula. 😄

Extras

Simply working your way through the levels isn't all that difficult because the challenge lies in completing stages as quickly as possible in order to unlock higher ranks and climb the leaderboards. Therefore, if you're the kind of gamer who enjoys outdoing their previous efforts then you'll have a blast with Neon White. Even more casual gamers will enjoy trying to find the present that's hidden within each level which you can give to the other assassins in order to learn more about them and complete super-tough extra stages. There's a lot of variety, too, as you'll come across many enemy types, different situations, and gimmicks that will keep you on your toes.

Quibbles

With that being said, there are segments that'll make you feel like you've already seen them before so some stages could definitely use more editing, especially ones that seem to go on forever. There are multiple paths you can take, though, which definitely mix things up whenever you discover an alternate route that has the potential to shave seconds off your completion time. Anyway, another issue is that the menus are kind of cumbersome. I wish you were presented with a simple level grid between stages because flipping through the menus requires too many clicks as it is. Finally, I became occasionally annoyed when I encountered a new concept with little to no explanation. For example, having to re-play a level just because you didn't know that the floor would collapse can be a pain.

Neon White screenshot 3
With enough practice, you'll always get a head

Neon White is the 2nd best indie I've played this year so far. With a brilliant combination of genres, you're sure to spend hours upon hours mastering stage after stage as you uncover more about its very strange cast of characters.

  • + Seamless blend of genres that come together in one rewarding formula
  • + Quirky and intriguing game world
  • + Lots of varied stages to master
  • - Some segments can feel a bit too familiar
  • - Menus are rather cumbersome
  • - Certain parts could use more instruction
8.8 out of 10
Gameplay video for Neon White thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Neon White
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