February 1, 2023

For day 17 of this year’s RPS advent calendar, you feel the need – the need speed. There’s a wonderful load of levels to jump through, and if you can take out all the enemies in your way, so much the better.

I hope we cheated at least one of you, because it’s Neon White time, baby!

Neon White’s combination of cards, guns and parkour is a winning combination

alice0: Neon White is a fast-paced FPS set in Vaporwave Heaven, where a gang of goofy anime criminals has been formed to slay demons. We play as an embarrassing anime idiot, trying to climb the rankings of Heaven’s demon killers by running and shooting through levels as fast as possible. All the weapons we find scattered around levels offer additional movement options, ranging from air blasts and double jumps to darting around and high-speed stomps. All you have to do is reach the end and kill all the demons along the way. Levels are short, most of them less than a minute long, but the real Neon White tries to complete them much, much faster.

Neon White’s levels provide obvious routes to take. You can score the bronze, silver and gold medals in each level by following the obvious route, climbing the levels by swinging less, aiming faster, keeping moving. The point where Neon White becomes Neon White is when you push the ace low and beyond. To score the ace medal you don’t just have to improve your performance, you have to break the obvious route by finding a new use for a movement skill or questioning the level’s perceived limits. Skips, tricks and lightning-fast aiming will get you there. And from there, it’s easy to fall into chasing the developer medal times and then chasing the leaderboards.

This is Neon White at its best: looking beyond what appears to be a level, coming up with your own little tricks, enjoying every shaved split second, finally landing a tricky jump, then mastering that jump and doing another making a move unconsciously, and celebrating every place that has climbed up the leaderboards. It’s a great feeling to put in a run and set a new best time, but the feeling that I could do a section just a little bit better never goes away. I was very happy to have Neon White levels in the back of my mind for several weeks this year, occasionally bringing up possible solutions that I should run to my PC to check.

Battling demons in a Neon White screenshot.

The vaporwave-like landscape of the sky in a neon white screenshot.

All the while you’re whizzing through a beautiful vision of the sky, listening to great music and hanging out with your goofy anime friends. I know some may find this rude attitude off-putting, but I am quite fond of these idiots and here for their foolish schemes.

Now when I log back into Neon White, I see that our Ollie has improved some of my leaderboard times by just 4 milliseconds. Goddamnit. Okay, now I have to try to regain these positions.

Liam: I’ve only played Neon White for a few hours (and thoroughly enjoyed it!) but it’s the soundtrack that has stuck with me more than the game itself. Composed by Machine Girl, these high-intensity beats are a solid combination for doing boring tasks around the house. Honestly, try vacuuming while pumping Glass Ocean into your skull. You’ll find yourself doing sick drifts down the coffee table and sliding down the handrails to try and improve your PB. It’s phenomenal.

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