Angel Matrix’s Neon White is one of the most unique games in recent memory. If I described it as a cross between Mirror’s Edge, Celeste, Persona, and Cowboy Bebop, would that make sense or would that sound like nerd soup?
Despite its absolutely bizarre premise – the titular White, a neon demon slayer, competes with other sinners in order to earn a temporary place in paradise – the game is a joy to play and has become the surprise hit of the summer. As such, if you’ve made a mistake or two getting used to the game’s new combination of FPS, visual novel, platformer, deck builder, and anime nonsense, you’re definitely not not alone. Here are some things we’ve all done at some point.
ten miss a jump
Neon White’s opening stages act as a tutorial, introducing the player to all of the game’s different mechanics. It even playfully dresses up the whole concept in tutorials…right before you dive into one. Funny joke, game.
The first level has no enemies or hazards, just a quick little running and jumping segment to get you acclimated to the controls. The thing is, everyone’s missed that first jump once… or twice. First-person platforming is tricky to master, so it’s nice that Neon White at least lets you feel its physics before throwing yourself into the depths.
9 Fall from the end of the world
Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll never misjudge another jump. The first group of levels in Neon White takes place in an area called Glass Ocean, where there are no bottomless pits. However, later levels aren’t that generous, with impossible architecture in the clouds.
Add in the game’s movement abilities tied to his weapons and you have a recipe for instant death. Activate your double jump a second too late, or fire your dash when you’re not facing exactly the right direction, and you’ll come back down to earth. It happens to everyone.
8 Experiment with Soul Cards
Neon White’s weapons take the form of Soul Cards, which are color-coded pickups that dot her levels. Grab the yellow Elevate card and you can use a pistol, firing short shots at nearby enemies.
But you can also discard each weapon to use a move ability tied to that card — the card’s name will give you a clue about the associated move. The Elevate map, for example, gives you an instant double jump, allowing you to reach higher platforms. Every time you get a new card, you’ll want to play with its ability, seeing how far each new move can take you.
seven Forget a miserable demon
Neon White’s levels are brief, asking you to jump, dash, and smash your way through little bits of tasty platforming goodness. This brevity, and the game’s emphasis on speed, will have you rushing through each level, throwing caution into the wind as you accelerate towards the finish line.
But don’t be arrogant! The game only allows you to complete a level when you kill all the demons in it. If you run past a demon in your haste, you might complete the objective, but you won’t be able to exit the level and earn your reward… not that I know from experience or anything.
6 Aim for a better medal
After completing each level in Neon White, the game will give you a medal based on how quickly you reached the finish line. Winning a bronze medal is fine, of course, if you’re just trying to get to the next level. But you’ll quickly learn that the real reward is locked behind the best medals.
Earning Gold will increase your Neon Rank and unlock a level hint that shows you a secret shortcut. Getting an Ace Medal is even better, opening up the global leaderboards for you to play. Neon White’s crème de la crème compete for the fastest times on every level, and you’ll only be able to join them if you try to outdo yourself in every race.
5 Look for the gift collectibles
Earning better medals isn’t the only reason to replay Neon White levels. After completing a level for the first time, the game unlocks a collectible gift in each one. These are usually hidden in an isolated location, such as a remote building or literally under level.
Finding them requires tricky platforming maneuvers and careful management of your Soul Cards, but they’re worth seeking out as they allow you to build your relationships with other Neons.
4 Choose one of the characters as your soul mate
Neon White isn’t just about traversing beautiful abstract spaces as fast as you can. It’s also about anime girls! And the boys. And the cats. Outside of the game’s fast-paced levels, you’ll encounter a host of other Neons who all have a connection to White.
There’s Neon Yellow, a good-natured himbo who just wants to hang out and drink beer; Neon Violet, a baby-voiced goth who loves cute animals and bloody killings; and Neon Red, a devious femme fatale who keeps her past a secret. Giving them gifts allows you to spend more time with them, and if the ocean of internet fanart is any indication, at least a of these Neons is bound to be your new crush. Except Violet. She is my lively GF.
3 Die horribly in Violet’s side missions
Giving gifts to other Neons also periodically unlocks side missions. These are similar to the main levels, but each character’s missions have a unique twist. Red’s levels focus on traversal rather than combat, Yellow’s levels disable discard abilities and force you to rely on your wits, and Violet’s levels…are very difficult.
Violet loves murder, blood, and death, so her levels are lined with insta-kill spikes and endless rows of enemies, requiring sharp platforming to complete. The things we do for love.
2 Be nostalgic for the 2000s
Neon White wears its influences on its sleeve. Director Ben Esposito has name-checked a slew of early 2000s inspirations, including cult classics like Killer7 and sci-fi anime classics like Cowboy Bebop. Heck, they even got Steve Blum, the voice actor behind Bebop’s Spike Spiegel, to play White!
The whole game feels like a love letter to a simpler time, when the internet was just a collection of forum nerds eagerly sharing the things they loved…and the occasional deeply traumatic meme. (Don’t go to eBaum’s World, kids.)
1 Become a speed runner
Neon White lets you revisit old levels at any time, including optional side missions. Its medal system and collectibles encourage you to use your movement abilities wisely, while its hotkeys help you see how each level can be manipulated. His ranking shows you how well other players are doing, challenging you to do better.
In other words, the game is designed to help you speed up its levels by expanding your knowledge and always comparing yourself to others. You will cross paradise in no time.
NEXT: Changes To Take Neon White From Good To Great