Neon White came quite literally out of nowhere – I’d seen a couple of random reviews on it, but it was the 99% positive rating on Steam that really piqued my interest.
For a measly £20, this ended up being a worthy investment and a half. Neon White has some of the best gameplay I’ve experienced in recent years, and time after time it blew me away. In this review, I’ll try to explain why I loved it so much.
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You play as Neon White – a denizen of the underworld who has been brought to heaven to exterminate some pesky demons. Along the way you’ll meet some old friends – namely Neons Yellow, Violet and Red – and uncover your memories from when you were alive.
I’ll be completely honest … the story let me down a little bit. The initial hook was great (A demon hunter in heaven? Sign me up!) but the plot never went in any meaningful directions from there.
It’s not bad in the slightest, but I’ll delve into more detail in my “Not-So-Good” section. All you really need to know is that the plot is as standard as it comes, and that it was easily the worst aspect of this fantastic game.
That being said, I don’t think anyone is going to play this game for its plot.
The gameplay was the strongest aspect of Neon White – if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t think I can find a single fault within it.
Movement is unbelievably clean, the soul cards were an amazing gimmick that were always fun to use, and the mechanics and level design never got stale. The developers did an extraordinary job of keeping the game engaging, even after playing a hundred levels.
It’s like a cross between Trackmania and Doom – it’s exhilarating running around to kill the demons, but I was also motivated to collect every platinum medal.
Other developers should take note – this is as perfect as gameplay in an Indie title gets.
One of the things that made me buy the game was the style of it. “Paradise Killer” is one of my favourite games of the past few years, and this seemed to share some of the same artstyle.
Now, it’s not quite as vibrant and charming as a game like Paradise Killer, but the graphics and character sprites had a sort of nostalgic feel that I absolutely loved. The hub world had some fun backgrounds too, although I wish they’d expanded upon it and gone more in-depth.
The style wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty great.
A perfect game doesn’t exist, and I certainly had my gripes with Neon White.
First of all, the story got a bit cheesy / by-the-book near the end. The initial hook of the demon slayer in heaven was fun, but the more we learnt about White’s backstory the less I cared.
Also, the dialogue and general gifting system left a lot to be desired. The writing is full of the anime cringe that I hate (even though the voice-acting was great – Steve Blum is a living legend), and the rewards for the gifting felt meaningless.
I won’t give a specific score for this section, but just know that it’ll affect my overall verdict.
Arguably the most important category of all, the level of fun I have in a game is a huge factor in my overall appreciation.
Luckily for Neon White, the main bulk of the gameplay was some of the most fun I’ve had all year – the actual running and gunning part is flawless, and I always looked forwards to booting up the game and getting the platinum medals. Even finding the gifts were a welcome challenge!
It wasn’t all perfect, though, and everything that wasn’t the gameplay (dialogue, giving the gifts etc.) were a bit of a slog to get through. About 90% of it is rapid-paced action, so a 9/10 score seems apt.
Neon White was a game that blew me away, and the thrill of exterminating the demons never diminished across its multitude of levels. If the general writing – and especially dialogue – was a little stronger, this would have been one of my favourite games ever.
FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10
|+ Incredible gameplay||– Dialogue / Plot|
|+ Never got stale||– Gifting was tedious|
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