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Neon White Review

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It’s been a little while (just over two years in fact) since Neon White dashed onto consoles and PC, but after much waiting the time has finally come for Xbox players to get their running shoes on. The question is, can you achieve redemption and save yourself from an eternity of damnation?

In Neon White you play as the titular character, who (along with other Neons) are competing to secure a permanent place in heaven after originally being sent to hell after dying. These sinners are questionable characters to say the least, so trust is fractured as you compete with them in an annual demon slaying competition.

Neon White review 1
It’s a demon slaying competition…

As alluded to earlier, Neon White is a fast paced action platformer that sees you traversing the seemingly endless supernatural plain, cleaning up the demon infestation which persists year upon year. Presented from the first person perspective, the aim is to do so as quickly as possible against the clock.

There are many chapters in Neon White, all consisting of a series of brief stages which you are encouraged to speedrun through. This is because you can earn one of four medals depending on the time it takes you to reach the finish. However, you need to ensure you clear all the demons before you can use the exit.

These nasties take many forms, from the simple projectile firing type to harmless balloon shaped demons which you can bounce on and elevate yourself to new heights. As you journey through the demon filled areas of heaven, they will grow more and more dangerous too. You’ll also come across Neon adversaries who you will need to pursue at pace to take down.

Soul cards are gradually introduced as you blitz your way through the levels, and have various uses and effects. First off, they provide Neon White with a weapon to dispatch those pesky demons with. Regularly picking them up will keep your ammo replenished. You’ll always have your trusty katana to fall back on which is good to know. More interestingly however, most come with a special movement to aid you in your platforming exploits. Whether it’s a double jump, forward dash or a powerful ground pound, shuffling through these cards whilst dashing to the exit makes for a pulse pounding, exhilarating experience.

On the quest to become the best demon slayer out there, you’ll need to raise your rank in line with your achievements. You’ll do so by achieving a gold or ace medal, and each new mission will have a ranking requirement before you can press on. Thankfully, this is pretty balanced and doesn’t provide any significant barriers to progression.

Neon White review 2
Make the most of your cards

What seems standard fare at first, but is actually very clever, is how each medal unlocks something different giving you incentive to play through it again. This includes sneaky hints at shortcuts to achieve the best times and bag those “Ace Medals”, markers which indicate where secret gifts are hidden and allow access to global leaderboards for the record breakers.

As a result the structure successfully encourages replayability by slightly changing the challenge on offer. This may make you think that this would reduce the amount of stages. But you’d be wrong. There are nearly 100 in total, and that doesn’t even include the side missions too. Although there are plenty of them, the level design is consistently brilliant. It allows the medal system to really count for something, offering a convincing reason to play through each several times.

Secret gifts are worth hunting down, as each will be destined for other Neons that you interact with during the story. In the Central Heaven hub area, you can hand them over to their desired recipients and earn different rewards, including extra snippets of dialogue and those aforementioned extra stages.

The replayability ultimately hinges on raising your curiosity to the point where you want to discover more about the characters and the world of Neon White (unless you’re simply a dedicated speedrunner). It succeeds wonderfully. The little touches such as unlocking “Heavenly Delight” tickets when you earn a set of gold medals during a mission, offer you nothing practical but instead a peek into some brilliant moments between characters. 

The control mapping in Neon White is pretty intuitive, allowing for breakneck platforming alongside FPS combat. However, there were a few times where I sprinted off the edge of a ledge into the cloudy abyss rather than jumping as instructed by my button press. And there’s certainly a story to be told in Neon White, which plays out as the main man himself attempts to rediscover his lost memories. Discovering this backstory along with old memories and relationships is certainly intriguing, but kills the pace a little at times and feels a bit long winded.

Neon White review 3
The artistic style is on point

I’m a big fan of the artistic style in Neon White though. It looks great with an anime inspired cast delivering an adult tone visually and through dialogue. At first glance I’ll admit, I got Neon White totally wrong. It looked intriguing but ultimately confused, however in reality the components all add up to a satisfying, demon popping ride.

Neon White feels like a breath of fresh air, thanks to its brilliant design and wickedly paced gameplay. For thrills, spills and occasionally chills, this one should not be missed.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Stylish visuals
  • Intelligent Medals system
  • Engaging cast of characters
  • Impressive level design
  • Replayability and level count provide hours of gameplay
Cons:
  • Bloated narrative is sometimes unnecessary
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Annapurna
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Release date and price - 11 July 2024 | £TBC
Darren Edwards
Darren Edwards
I have been playing games since a very early age, thanks to my Dad's encouragement. I've been an Xbox gamer since the very beginning, the Master Chief is to thank for that. I'm also a big Nintendo geek, and my other half is a PlayStation nut. I'll play pretty much anything in any genre (although FIFA and COD maybe pushing it).
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Stylish visuals</li> <li>Intelligent Medals system</li> <li>Engaging cast of characters</li> <li>Impressive level design</li> <li>Replayability and level count provide hours of gameplay</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Bloated narrative is sometimes unnecessary</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Annapurna</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One, PS4, PS5, Switch, PC <li>Release date and price - 11 July 2024 | £TBC</li> </ul>Neon White Review
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