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Neon White, the review of a new masterpiece by Annapurna Interactive

Neon White, the review of a new masterpiece by Annapurna Interactive
Written by aquitodovale

Here is our review of Neon White, a new masterpiece from Annapurna Interactive: fun, fast-paced and challenging enough.

A few months after our test we finally got to get our hands on the full version of Neon White, the action and platform game published by Annapurna Interactive.

As indie fans well know, this publisher is famous for the high average quality of the games published and, let’s say it right away, even in this case it did not fail: Neon White respected the good first impressions aroused this spring through the demo.

Available from June 16, 2022 on PC and Nintendo SwitchNeon White will propose you a trip to a Paradise where something does not add up but above all it will allow you to play a frenetic, fun and cheerful game.

For all the details, keep reading ours Neon White review.

Heaven suddenly

Neon White takes us to Heaven

For anyone who hasn’t read our tried, let’s take a step back. We are White, a murderer who died and ended up in Heaven. No, there has been no mistake and no kind of forgiveness: our criminal has not earned a place in eternal bliss, but has been summoned and turned into a Neon to do the dirty work of the Believers, blessed spirits who run the nine Heavens.

The work of the Neons is the elimination of the Demonscursed beings that haunt Heaven, especially during the Ten Days of Judgment: this is the time we have before we are hunted again, unless we become the number one Neon and thus obtain a whole year of stay in Heaven.

Neon Green is the antagonist of Neon White
Neon Green is the antagonist of Neon White

White is not alone though and will have to try to steal Neon Green’s place, also confronting Yellow, Red, Violet and a mass of other Neons at the same time. Those mentioned are old acquaintances of White, who however hardly remembers anything of the past: the adventure will therefore see us interact with these people, who seem at the same time friends and enemies; who can you trust?

The plot and the curtains, in visual novel style dating sim, are mostly comical, with jokes, over the top scenes and sometimes even nonsense. But don’t expect a plot only full of joy: White’s stay in Paradise will reveal various dark secrets and, while tearing a smile in many dialogues, there will be dramatic events. Overall, Neon White offers a simple but pleasant story that gives one more reason to get to the end of the game.

Run, shoot, repeat

Water allows us to run faster in Neon White
Water allows us to run faster in Neon White

The focus of Neon White is his gameplay: run, shoot and repeat over and over and over. That said it might seem uninteresting, but we assure you that it is exactly the opposite: Neon White is probably one of the funniest games of recent times, merging immediacy and the need for precision.

The game is divided into levels, linear zones with an exit point: the goal is to eliminate every single enemy that is in the path and get to the end; to do this we will have a whole series of weapons on our side, represented as colored cards. That base is a katana, but often using it means you have something wrong: the real weapons are the guns like a pistol, a submachine gun, a single shot rifle, a shotgun and so on. The peculiarity is linked to the fact that all weapons have at least one special ability: the gun, for example, allows us to jump, even in the air, while the bazooka becomes a grappling hook that pulls us in the direction towards which we aimed.

Use the secondary skills it means discarding the card, but shooting and running out of ammo also has this effect. However, you don’t have to imagine Neon White’s levels as those of a shooter, but as those of a linear 3D platform game, where each section has a specific solution. Every few steps the game gives us exactly the card we need and we will “only” have to understand how to use it and above all how to do it while staying on schedule.

In some levels of Neon White we will have to juggle various bullets
In some levels of Neon White we will have to juggle various bullets

Each level is in fact one race against time: there will be three records to beat, with the second (Gold) and the first (Ace) that raise our Neon rank, which in turn serves to unlock the next levels. Neon White does not pretend to get all Gold or Ace to advance, by eye it takes half or a little less of levels beaten with a record to be able to reach the end of the plot. In our case, we have all obtained Gold / Ace until the final missions are unlocked: the difficulty is therefore not prohibitive at all.

Furthermore, even if you are not a lover of record hunts and if you want to settle for the minimum, you will still have a reason to return to the various levels: once completed, a gift package appears inside that is necessary to unlock dialogues of the various characters we met and secondary missions with an alterative style and more difficult than those of the main plot.

THE gift boxes they are hidden in a very clever way within the levels and require a good glance but above all to think about exploration in an alternative way. Since the completion time is secondary in this case, the gift hunt transforms the experience significantly. Which becomes more of a puzzle-platform in which we have to figure out how to get around the original design to get just the cards needed to get to the gift.

This Neon White enemy charges up and then takes us out in one hit
This Neon White enemy charges up and then takes us out in one hit

More generally, the level design it is always incredible: very often there are also shortcuts that we do not notice the first time (getting the Gold unlocks a hint in the level that helps us to see them) and by replaying we can therefore have fun learning a new way to complete the path. These often last a few tens of seconds, so failure and rebooting never matter. On PC, uploads are instantaneous within levels, so don’t worry about wasting time.

Unfortunately, we cannot speak for the Nintendo Switch version, which we have not tried. We do not know if the performance, granitic on PC, is valid on the small Nintendo console: the 60 FPS are mandatory for Neon White and not having them could preclude the enjoyment of the game.

Furthermore, play with the controller it might be unsatisfactory: mouse and keyboard accuracy doesn’t beat and Neon White needs efficient movement; We’ve had a record breaking more than once after many attempts with a few hundredths of a second off and, based on our testing with an Xbox controller, we couldn’t have done it using the analog sticks.

Longevity

We completed Neon White in just under nine hours, getting almost all Gold / Ace, but leaving most of the presents behind. For a 100%, we believe playtime easily approaches 15-18 hours. There is also a mode in which all levels of the game are played in a row, adding up the times: those who love to hunt for records will have to spend a lot of time to get perfect times.

Comment

Tested version Windows PC

Digital Delivery

Steam

Price
€ 21.99

Neon White is a fun, immediate, yet challenging game with a perfect design. The plot is pleasant and dances between the comic and the dramatic, always being interesting. It is aimed above all at those who love to go in search of the record in every level and encourage them to replay again and again; for everyone else, there are still a few additional activities that allow you to find out more about the storyline and unlock extra levels.

PRO

  • Fun, immediate, challenging enough
  • Great level design
  • Increase longevity in a clever way

VERSUS

  • Playing with the controller can be frustrating



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