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Neon White Review – Heavenly and Delightful

10
Reviewed on PC

Read our full review of Neon White, the fast-paced indie FPS

From the short time I spent with the Neon White demo, I knew it was something special. The incredible level designs, the addictive time run approach to an FPS-like experience, and the addictive replayability kept me hooked through the 30 minutes or so that I experienced with the game. From then on, I was constantly checking the Steam store page, and keeping up with their socials in the hopes that I could play Neon White to its fullest. And now it’s finally here.

Neon White stars the titular protagonist finding himself in Heaven with other characters, such as the love interest, Neon Red, the beer-loving Neon Yellow, and more. Neons are assassins who had died and been brought into Heaven in an attempt to deal with a Demon invasion and earn a spot into Heaven’s tightly-locked gates. Fortunately for players, Neon White is coincidentally the only Neon to get amnesia, meaning that much of Neon White’s dialogue is exposition, and it seems that Neon White knew the other from the past life.

The story doesn’t hit the cliches as much as I had expected, keeping me pleasantly surprised throughout.

The story is told through a Visual Novel-esque style, that completely juxtaposes the fast-paced and almost chaotic gameplay, which we’ll get into in a moment. For the first few missions, the story felt cringe-worthy, with some pretty bad dialogue and annoying characters. But over time, I grew to love the cast of Neon White. The dialogue went from bad to great, as I leaned more into the cringe as opposed to away from it. Something seemed to click around the halfway mark, which made me appreciate the story and its lovable set of characters even more.

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Neon White Review Other Neons

Without spoiling the plot and narrative of the game, Neon White features plenty of twists during its roughly 10-12 hour runtime. The story doesn’t hit the cliches as much as I had expected, keeping me pleasantly surprised throughout. I can see that some players may find the dialogue and general story bad due to the cringe, but I believe Angel Matrix absolutely played into the cringe here, and it works for it.

The Souls Cards are a direct representation of the style that Neon White is going for, and it blends seamlessly into the world.

The main highlight of Neon White is the gameplay. Each mission is split into numerous levels, most full of Demons you’re required to slay. Across the levels are Soul Cards, cards that can be both used as guns or discarded as a means of movement or utility. Angel Matrix purposefully use Souls Cards instead of models of weapons to make the player think about how they use their limited resources to finish the level, and it feels great. The Souls Cards are a direct representation of the style that Neon White is going for, and it blends seamlessly into the world.

Neon White Full Review Story

Each level offers a variety of Soul Cards, different types of Demons, and different platforms for you to use to navigate the arena. Neon White’s various mechanics are constantly in play, working and gelling together as they fit perfectly. Your goal is to reach the end of each level, and upon completion, you’ll earn a medal from a variety of different ones, with a faster completion time awarding you higher medals. You’ll need a Gold or an Ace to increase your Neon Rank, with higher ranks allowing you to play the next mission.

From the gorgeous opening cinematic to chilling out in Heaven’s central hub, to the speed-orientated layout of each level, all of the songs and scores played throughout are absolutely mesmerizing.

Neon White uses its levels as a way to both provide the story and the fun. While playing levels in chronological order, you’ll typically find other Neons around the level, almost guiding you, and in future runs, they won’t appear. And trust me, you’ll be replaying levels. Thanks to the fact that Neon White’s levels are quick, chaotic, and offer a time, you’ll be replaying frequently to beat your friend’s scores or anyone on the global leaderboard.

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The levels are superbly designed around the speed and the thoughtful use of Soul Cards. Each area you visit is distinctively designed, with a vaporwave-like aesthetic that matches the idea of a clean but undetailed Heaven. It works extremely well. And similar to how Mirror’s Edge offers red-colored objects to lead the way, Neon White has a more natural-feeling Demon or Soul Card lying about to magnetize you in that direction. As the game progresses, levels get harder and more complex but offer the same exhilarating feeling as the earlier levels without feeling too frustrating. And as more Souls Cards, and their discard abilities are introduced, the game consistently makes it clear what card you’re holding and what it can do.

Each interaction with the different Neons offers an insight into who they are and how they’re unique, and it’s worth giving them gifts and spending time with them.

Neon White Review

Neon White also offers a central hub of sorts, a way for players to interact with their Neon friends. Offering gifts to fellow Neons, which can be found during levels, will increase your bond with them. Your bond with each Neon earns new dialogue, side quests, and access to Neon White’s memories. While this system is completely optional, it does offer a way to get a secret good ending, which we won’t spoil here for obvious reasons. Each interaction with the different Neons offers an insight into who they are and how they’re unique, and it’s worth giving them gifts and spending time with them.

Visually, Neon White is spectacular. There’s no push for realism, or an attempt to create a serious world. Much of Neon White’s areas are bright, simple, and extremely well crafted. It really feels like how Heaven should look, with clear and unphased water surrounding some stages, and a vibe of both mystery and uneasiness in the air. The 3D models of the Neons, although seen rarely, aren’t the best. But they work well within the world and the cringe-infused nature of the game.

Neon White may be one of the best indie games I’ve ever played, and the only con I can give it is that it’s over.

Neon White Full Review Levels

Machine Girl created an original soundtrack for the whole game, and it’s absolutely incredible. From the gorgeous opening cinematic to chilling out in Heaven’s central hub, to the speed-orientated layout of each level, all of the songs and scores played throughout are absolutely mesmerizing. I’ve already downloaded the soundtrack onto my phone, which is something I rarely do. In fact, only three video game soundtracks exist in my expansive music library, those being Metal Gear Rising, Persona 5, and now Neon White. If that doesn’t say a lot, I don’t know what will.

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Overall, Angel Matrix did an amazing job with Neon White. Every element is spectacularly crafted and well thought out. The best way to describe Neon White is that it feels like a constant adrenaline rush, an exhilarating experience that slows down occasionally to allow the story to creep in. It’s always exciting to approach new levels, wondering how they’ll play out, and finding shortcuts to decrease your time and earn higher medals is addictive as it is fun. The story started slow, but by the end of the game, I wanted to see more of these characters, becoming accustomed to how they behaved. And I can’t leave this review without once again mentioning the incredible visuals and soundtrack that pave the way for some of the most engaging levels I’ve ever played in a game. Neon White may be one of the best indie games I’ve ever played, and the only con I can give it is that it’s over.

A Review Code was provided by the Publisher for the purpose of this review

Neon White Review
Conclusion
Neon White is a concoction of incredible game design, beautiful visuals, a stunning soundtrack, and a great story to top it all off. Every moment I was playing Neon White put a smile on my face, and the only negative I can think of is that I've now finished the game.
PROS
Thoughtful game and level design that blends extremely well
Story starts slow, but becomes interesting and refreshing towards the latter half
Incredible visuals and soundtrack that work well with the euphoric rush of Neon White
CONS
I finished the game
10
Reviewed on PC

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