Neon White | Review

Neon White | Review

A murderer, Heaven and many deaths. We could not open our review of Neon White differently, developed by the talent of Angel Matrix and Ben Esposito, published by Annapurna Interactive, the famous publisher of video games such as Solar Ash and Outer Wilds, two video games that, albeit with different ideas, have been able to offer unique experiences and to give us so many hours of fun that we would like to spend another hundred in his company.

We are talking about wonderful productions, crazy and out-of-scale works, which have carved out a space in the independent panorama , rising above expectations. Neon White, however, starts from different ideas: it is a video game that had attracted us since its announcement, either because it had an intriguing concept, or because of its crazy style, between anime and visual novel, with a final result that was able to convince. and surprise from start to finish.

We could not, in fact, ask for more: before you think you will find yourself in front of the usual video game to finish and leave there, know that Neon White is not meant for this at all. But let's proceed in order, from the Day of Judgment, from when humanity knew the stars, the sky and Our Lord, surrounded by angels, by the souls of the just, the polite, the good and the immaculate, once sinners but now, redeemed. and placid, ready to serve him, waiting for the tenth day, the last and the worst. The one who will decree the end of light, the end of everything, the end of us, the end of the world and the end of the Universe ... in short, we will all die.

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In this sense, White is a Neon, a warrior capable of extraordinary things who, like so many others, carries out the task of guardian and killer of innocent souls, the same that in life he never safeguarded, doing his utmost to accompany them from the Grim Reaper, becoming at the time his greatest ally. But now this is the past and, passing to a better life, we like to imagine it even changed, stronger, more decisive and better. Of course, he is always violent, uses unconventional weapons and kills mercilessly, but now he has a higher and more concrete goal: to protect a place he never expected to reach and its inhabitants, of which he knows little. It's nothing. In short, everything he has never done in life pays him back in his new unearthly and mystical existence, far from the flames he hopes never to have anything to do with.

Neon White's narrative revolves around to White, its evolution and the dialogues with the other protagonists of the events. Not making too many spoilers, there are other Neons in Heaven and all of them have made unspeakable and questionable gestures in life, winning entry into the Kingdom of Heaven with difficulty and, albeit with a lot of reserve, convincing the Most High and all his acolytes to welcome them.

The dialogues, developed and structured like a visual novel, are convincing, ironic and funny, and are not satisfied with making up a banal and stereotyped plot, outlining what is right, bad, good and unacceptable in the moral of the world. In Paradise, no one cares what White and his companions did, even if the weight of their actions in life was decisive.

The writing chosen for the events and their succession, in fact, is mature and compelling , because it outlines a story that surprises, makes you reflect and entertains in a simple and not at all obvious way, leaving aside the banality to concentrate its energies on the construction of the protagonist in all its nuances. White is ironic, witty, sarcastic and often makes misleading jokes at times making the fall and on many other occasions behaving as if nothing had happened, while he continues his mission undeterred. Like all Neons, he wears a mask that hides his face, and it is an important garment, as it differentiates him from the Believers and Welcomed of the Kingdom of Heaven, giving it a definitely better defined look.

In this regard, the exciting script entertains and offers, as well as different visions of the world. game, also an excellent insight into the NPCs we interact with, knowing better what revolves around this luxuriant and full of light world, although it is actually sad and suffering. In this regard, the story unfolds quickly and goes straight to the point, focusing on its winning elements, especially through its visual novel style, which allows you to enjoy an excellent representation of the events on screen, experiencing them firsthand. A note of merit is all contained in the character of White who, once known and studied better, proves to be mature and convincing. We couldn't have asked for more of Annapurna and Angel Matrix, who outlined and wrote a protagonist with all the trimmings.

Ezekiel 25.17: the race of the fearful assassin ...

We could summarize Neon White in a few simple lines, but obviously it is not from us, because in fact its game design is much more complex than we could imagine. Neon White is a first-person shooter with elements of a video game to platforms, with an intuitive and clear interface, useful for anyone not used to similar video games. We could say that we run, shoot and kill, leaving out an exhaustive explanation, risking being discounted. And even this is not with us, in fact Neon White is a video game built with intelligence and sensitivity, strong in a gameplay that is addictive and leaves no way out, putting its most miserable defects into the background. If on the one hand you shoot, overcoming the various levels necessary to advance in the experience, on the other hand you face enemies with a katana, very useful in excited moments and when you do not have the necessary cards, which we can select at will according to to the situations and the complexity of the levels that we face during the journey.

Let's start from the beginning, that is, from the main hub: here we can chat with the other characters or, alternatively, even repeat the same ones missions to increase our Neon rank, thus allowing us to access new areas, to be solved as if they were puzzles. It is in fact their approach that amazed us, because it reflects on the use of cards while the dynamism of the actions and the spectacular take over, making us not only part of the experience, but its maximum expression.

In many video games, we often wonder how game design with its characteristics can surprise, and Neon White - let's say it and let's shout it - does it with conviction, maturity and complexity, while defining an intricate but playful nature. fulfilling. The cards, in this sense, represent the nerve center of the entire video game, since we can select, change and arrange them as we wish and, by tackling the levels, it is even possible to choose them according to the situations. Some are skill cards, which can make us jump higher, others are cards on which weapons are depicted, where we can equip a submachine gun, a rifle and a pistol.

The machine gun, in addition to shooting, can allow us to reach places by destroying obstacles downwards, while the gun allows us to take one more leap or the rifle to move from one side of a cliff to the other, thus allowing us to access an area that would otherwise be unreachable if we made a jump. Each level has been built differently, with care and attention, both to give variety and a more marked and scrupulous freedom of approach, which only a few productions are used to maintaining, with the only difference that Neon White, unlike other productions, is an original and unreleased video game.

It is difficult, mind you, especially after reaching a certain degree, with time running out, representing a real threat. It is not so much the enemies, therefore, that worry us more than necessary but it is the weather, which can be far more threatening than a demon thirsty for blood. To overcome each level, in fact, we can be satisfied with the bronze, but there is the risk of reaching the end of each mission without being able to access the next, forcing us to repeat the same actions over and over, from start to finish, to get to the gold evaluation, the most complex to obtain.

All this, however, works because it blends with the other characteristics of production, pushing us to reach the highest degree and the gold evaluation to overcome other levels. It is a classic method, not very innovative, yet it is functional and fun, one of a kind and all-encompassing. It is a gameplay that causes an adrenaline-fueled addiction and that almost pushes you to never detach yourself from the production, as it amazes and leaves you speechless for the depth that transpires within it as well as for the many actions we perform while solving the levels.

Neon White, in short, is not simply a video game made up of jumps, dodges, right timing and intelligence, as well as skills: it is a production that packs, through a classic model, a characteristic and unique gameplay of its kind. It is something that not everyone succeeds, considering that this video game, entering the Nintendo market, is proposed to an extremely loyal and fierce slice of public, and which is not above all easy to convince. In our opinion, however, Neon White proves to be a less complicated, more immediate and decisive Ghostrunner, without detracting from the genius proposed by One More Level almost two years ago.

If nothing else, it is the production that most comes close to the quality standards typical of the most famous video games, with the only difference that Neon White is a pearl with a very strong charisma, one of the most surprising that we have ever had in our hands and try it first hand. On the other hand, what does the market need if not all this originality and genius that can, at the same time, interface with all players and not just with fans? The answer, years ago, would have been another and everyone - more or less - would have said Cuphead, Hades or who knows what else. Neon White, however, has dramatically raised the qualitative bar, proposing not only a unique and intriguing story, but also a gameplay that we enjoyed for about thirty hours, a generous quantity and that could certainly attract the most demanding.

Adrenaline, crazy, unique: the style of Neon White made us fall in love

And what about the artistic direction? The environmental design, especially during the visual novel phases, pleasantly enchanted us as the characters, fascinating to the eye as well as in form. They recall, if nothing else, some of the best known souls of recent years, yet they behave in a more exaggerated and sarcastic way, not leaving aside their more melancholy and sad side, yet managed with intelligence.

The various levels, built with a simple and intuitive level design, were both able to put us in difficulty and to amaze us and leave us stunned by what we saw on the screen, while the actions we performed were different and the various structures that we discovered - of which we do not have never done without - they allowed us to immerse ourselves in an unexpected and enjoyable atmosphere. Also thanks to the sound and the musical compositions, the production entertained us, accompanied us by the hand and thus gave us a further pretext to increase our playlist on Spotify.

In addition, taking care of the graphic aspect of a game similar is not easy, and a miracle was done on Nintendo Switch, so much so that in our test we had no problems of any kind and everything was smooth. The frame rate, in this sense, is stable at thirty frames per second while the loading times, despite being slightly long, have never created problems of any kind. The commands, sometimes difficult to manage on Nintendo Switch Lite, forced us to repeat some levels, which we passed without too many complications.

Another relevant detail, fundamental for certain video games , is the presence of the localization in Italian: the dialogues, from English to our language, are in fact well translated and stimulating, even if there is no dubbing in Italian, a real shame considering all the other positive characteristics of the branded and published production by Annapurna Interactive, which once again proves to be the usual forge of talents that can no longer be done without.

In conclusion, Neon White is a video game with a fun, satisfying and stimulating play structure, representing a unique product of its kind. Mature and addictive, it creates addiction and the desire to be surprised, and is the demonstration of how much a work that is curated and built with intelligence can have its say in a saturated market, even surpassing certain noble productions. It is yet another point scored by Annapurna Interactive, who seems not to miss a single shot anymore.

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