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Neon White is a first-person speedrunning platformer game developed by Angel Matrix and published by Annapurna Interactive released for PC and the Nintendo Switch. The game received high praise from reviewers and quickly developed a fandom online after its June 2022 release.
In Neon White, players take the role of White, a dead, amnesiac assassin who, along with his fellow dead assassins Red, Yellow and Violet, is recruited for a competition to eradicate a demon infestation in certain parts of heaven. The winning "Neon" (a dead sinner) will earn the chance to stay in heaven while the rest remain in purgatory. The goal of each level is to kill all the demons in an area via "gun cards" picked up in that area as quickly as possible. Gun cards can be discarded in favor of a movement boost that will be needed to complete an area (for example, discarding a pistol will grant White a double-jump).
Levels also have "gifts" that, upon replay, can be discovered and usually require tricky movement to obtain. Collecting all the gifts in the game is necessary to unlock its secret, "good" ending. The levels are broken up with visual novel elements wherein White deepens his relationship with the rest of the cast and regains his memories.
Neon White was announced on February 17th, 2021 (announcement trailer shown below). The game was developed by Angel Matrix and published by Annapurna Interactive. The game is designed by Ben Esposito, written by Ryann Shannon, and its music is composed by Machine Girl. Steve Blum voices White.
The game was released on June 16th, 2022 for PC and the Nintendo Switch.
The game was widely praised in print and in YouTube videos. On Metacritic, the game has a score of 89/100, with 100% positive reviews. In a 5-star review, The Guardian praised the game's core gameplay loop encouraging players to deconstruct levels in order to achieve the best possible time, writing, "Neon White’s chaotic presentation and somewhat puerile script conceals a game of taut design and striking imagination – a delicious test of skills that generously rewards commitment with exhilaration." In a 9/10 review, GameSpot wrote, "Neon White is flawless from a gameplay perspective and is not only stylish and incredibly satisfying, but a magnetic execution of a fascinating idea. There's nothing else quite like it, and you'd be doing yourself a massive disservice if you don't at least give it a try."
Prominent gaming reviewers on YouTube also praised the game. In a rare positive review, Yahtzee Crowshaw praised the game for the exceptional execution of its core idea (shown below, left). VideoGameDunkey also praised the game in his review, gaining over 2.1 million views.
Some reviewers quibbled with the game's story and dialogue, with some complaining it was juvenile and broad to the point of being cringeworthy. However, some argued that that added to the game's charm, such as YouTuber yakkocmn in an enthusiastic video essay praising the game (shown below).
The game quickly developed a following online thanks to its stellar reviews and word-of-mouth. Thus, a significant amount of fan art was made for the game in the weeks after its release. For example, on July 5th, 2022, Twitter user @devilcinderella posted art that gained over 90 retweets and 470 likes (shown below, left). On July 13th, user @le_greekoid posted art crossing the game with Breaking Bad, gaining over 140 retweets and 900 likes in two days (shown below, right).
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