Players exploring the heavenly grounds of Neon White might find the game’s fast-paced action sequences overwhelming, but these tips will help.
Despite releasing on short notice after a surprise announcement during Summer Game Fest, indie game Neon White was met with a predominantly positive reception. Annapurna Interactive’s newest addition to an admirable roster of innovative titles quickly grew on speedrunning enthusiasts with a knack for electronic beats, leaving newcomers to Neon White‘s advertised genre at odds with the actual gameplay.
Given that Neon White spans nearly 100 speedy FPS levels, it does not necessarily qualify as beginner-friendly. The unusual mixture of deck-building elements and platforming sequences offers a rewarding experience rooted in replayability, even if the game’s action-fueled segments appear daunting at times. Learning the ropes early on can help immensely in the long run and ensure that players have ample opportunity to always perform to the best of their abilities, which is where the following tips come into play.
The best way to tackle Neon White‘s challenges is to take it one step at a time. Rather than viewing it as a breezy run-and-gun game, shifting focus to level design will help players deconstruct its puzzle-like structure and spot solutions hiding in plain sight. Players should thoroughly explore every level without focusing on the completion time during the first run. Doing so will allow them to experiment with different approaches as they look for alternate routes and off-camera areas.
Trial runs can not only reveal faster methods of traversal, but also demon locations and other points of interest. While discovering areas void of enemies often indicates the presence of a more time-efficient route in the vicinity, isolated opponents are a telltale sign of a level segment that does not require a direct approach. Furthermore, practicing crosshair discipline without the pressure imposed by a ticking clock during casual exploration will candidly introduce strategic ideas that can be implemented in timed runs, ensuring a better overall placement and less frequent Resets.
Despite owning a default Katana card with unlimited usage, players will have to procure more powerful weapons if they hope to complete a run within a set timeframe. Soul Cards scattered across the map are placed intentionally and should be used in the order they appear. Skimping on their traversal ability will not do White any favors, as he can only hold two card types at a time, and they do not carry over upon level completion.
Some Soul Cards benefit from stacking, which will come in handy when players need to unleash an upgraded version of their original ability. Relying on them for a more agile movement instead of the jumping mechanic will pay dividends and keep White airborne without inducing the floating aftereffect. Similarly, players can turn to their immediate surroundings to bolster the protagonist’s speed. Water, in particular, allows for faster traversal, whereas explosions propel White into the air without dealing any splash damage.
Taking in the level geometry during trial runs is sure to lead to game-changing discoveries, but leaning on a real-time walkthrough from time to time can also prove beneficial. Neon White‘s medals earned are not merely fashion statements celebrating the protagonist’s speedrunning prowess; they are also practical tools for providing a better insight into the player’s overall performance.
Successfully completing the level yields a Bronze medal and increases White’s Insight to Level 1. From a technical standpoint, it allows players to view the completion time required for higher ranks while unlocking the option to replay the stage and discover the location of a hidden gift. While the Silver medal jolts Insight to Level 2 and spawns a ghost that reenacts White’s fastest run, the Gold one unlocks level hints and caps the Insight Level at 3. These elusive hints appear as floating markers that alert players of a shortcut, though they rarely disclose the most time-efficient path to the goal. For the competitive portion of Neon White, players need to score the Ace medal to unlock the two Leaderboards for the stage in question.
When players grow tired of racing against the clock, they should consider pinpointing various gifts, provided they have already claimed the Bronze medal for the level of their choice. Since time is not of the essence and the run conveniently wraps up after the mysterious item is claimed, gift hunting can become a rather enjoyable pastime during consecutive playthroughs. However, it does not come without challenges.
Gifts in Neon White‘s levels usually rest in secluded areas that are hardly ever on the main path, often prompting players to engage in additional exploration that could help them discover new routes. Some gifts require a lot of creativity with Soul Cards, while others call for complete obliteration of the deck at hand. To avoid frustration, players should try locating a vending machine within the level, as it typically dispenses the exact Soul Card needed to reach the hidden gift. The acquired presents can then be given to other Neons in Central Heaven, rewarding the protagonist with a good rapport, additional dialogue, skill-based side-quests, and even different story endings.
Constantine Morgus is a Game and Narrative Designer by trade. He has also worked as a Content Writer and Ghostwriter in the past. Since Constantine is multilingual, he spouts (lyrical) nonsense more often than he would like to admit. Strangely enough, none of it is reflected in his Games Features… or so he would like to believe!