The RPS Advent Calendar 2022, December 17th
Gotta go fast!
For day 17 of the RPS Advent Calendar this year, you're feeling the need - the need for speed. There's a beautiful load of levels to leap through out there, and if you can take out all the enemies in your way then so much the better.
Hope we tricked at least one of you there, because it's Neon White time, baby!
Alice0: Neon White is a speedrunning FPS set across vaporwave Heaven, where a gang of anime idiot criminals have been raised to defeat demons. Playing as an embarrassing anime idiot, we're trying to climb the leaderboards of Heaven's demon-killers by dashing and shooting through levels as fast as we can. All of the weapons we find scattered about levels offer bonus movement abilities, ranging from air-dashes and double-jumps to rocketing around and high-speed stomps. All you have to do is reach the end and kill all demons along the way. Levels are short, most taking less than one minute—but the real Neon White is trying to complete them much, much faster than that.
Neon White's levels present obvious routes to take. You can score the bronze, silver, and gold medals on each level by following the obvious route, climbing the tiers by meandering less, aiming faster, keeping on the move. The point that Neon White becomes Neon White is when you push into the ace tier and beyond. To score the ace medal, you must not only nail your performance, you must break from the obvious route by finding a new use for a movement ability or questioning the perceived bounds of the level. Skips, tricks, and lightning-fast aiming will get you there. And from there, well, it's easy to fall into chasing the dev medal times, and then chasing the leaderboards.
This is Neon White at its best: seeing beyond what a level appears to be, figuring out your own little tricks, revelling in every split-second shaved, finally nailing a tricky skip, then coming to master that skip and making it another movement performed unconsciously, and celebrating every place climbed on the leaderboards. It is a wonderful feeling to nail a run and set a new best time, yet the feeling that I could do one section just a bit better never goes away. I was very happy to have Neon White levels running in the back of my head for several weeks this year, occasionally throwing up potential solutions that I'd have to dash to my PC to check.
All the while, you're zipping through a beautiful vision of Heaven, listening to fantastic music, and hanging out with your idiot anime pals. I know some find this rude 'tude off-putting but I'm quite fond of these idiots and here for their daft plans.
Logging back into Neon White now, I see our Ollie has beat some of my leaderboard times by as little as 4 milliseconds. God damn it. Alright, I must now go try to reclaim these positions.
Liam: I've only played a few hours of Neon White (and enjoyed it a lot!) but it's the soundtrack that's stuck with me more than the game itself. Composed by Machine Girl, these high-intensity beats are a solid pairing for doing boring tasks around the house. Honestly, try hoovering while pumping Glass Ocean into your skull. You'll find yourself doing sick drifts past the coffee table and sliding down the bannisters to try and beat your PB. It's phenomonal.