For a year that saw a lot of game delays, 2022 has been a better year, with expertly crafted games like the obvious GOTY contender Alden Ring to the complex narrative RPG Citizen Sleeper. But no game exemplifies “game feel” as a concept better than Neon White. It’s tight, it’s fast, it has the best soundtrack of the year. Most interestingly, though, the game has an ulterior motive: it wants you to break it on purpose.

If you’re unfamiliar with Neon White, let me catch you up to speed (pun intended) on one of GameSpot’s selections. 10 Best Games of the Year. It’s a first-person shooter-platformer, with cards that can be used either as weapons, which you use to take down demons, or as resources for various abilities like dashes or extra jumps. They waste it. You’ll want to be quick on your feet though, as getting the fastest time is your primary goal.

Currently running: Neon White | Dynamic introduction

The level design is obviously one of the standout aspects of the game, because while what you’re doing is platforming, the game is really like a puzzle game, because you understand where to use your weapons. Need, or where you need to use the capacity.

Completing a level within a certain amount of time nets you three things: the ability to find a gift to give to one of your teammates, a player ghost that shows off your previous best time, and a hint Each of these is paired with medals, ranging from bronze to platinum.

These are the clues that really prove how special the game is. At first glance, they seem like a way to show you how to shave a few seconds off your time. You’ll want to, of course, because each level has its own leaderboard, and it won’t just do if TheMilkMan73 has a time three milliseconds faster than you.

Neon White has more than one way to reach his level.
Neon White has more than one way to reach his level.

So you take a shortcut, which may not be immediately obvious as to how you achieve it. Sometimes you just need to fall gracefully from a certain height, and sometimes you need to save a certain card to use its ability, which is where the puzzle element of the levels really stands out. is done

Indicators aren’t necessarily the ultimate way to get the fastest times, though; They are more than a suggestion. Each clue acts as a mini-lesson, teaching you a bit of movement tech about key passages in the levels that you might not otherwise. Movement tech can only get you so far, though, and after a while, I realized what the shortcuts were really doing–they were correcting what I thought of surfaces as spaces. But how did you see?

Each level is said to be reduced to a path that goes back and forth like a snake. Most people will go that route because there’s some unwritten rule that says you can’t go out of bounds. You take this path all the time, and you don’t think to break away from its repetitive nature, even though you believe there is a better way. Then one day, you see someone walking straight ahead, completely ignoring the road, and just outpacing everyone else. Suddenly, the way you see the place and your ability to move through it is completely different. That’s what Neon White Shortcuts do: they encourage you to break the rules, and then the game itself.

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This is where leaderboards and TheMilkMan73 come into play again, as you can beat not only them, but also xX_blueblur_Xx and neonredsimp thanks to this world-changing feeling. There’s an incredible feedback loop, where you see a record you want to beat and then figure out how you can best use the geometry and tools.

In order to beat all those rivals – who don’t even know they’re there – you have to find that straight line in the winding path, which is much more obvious on some levels than others. You need to spend time experimenting–you need to kill a certain enemy, but you also need to make sure you save enough bullets to be able to use the card’s potential. You start moving around levels like you own the place, pushing the limits of everything you’ve got, and once you get the hang of things, you map yourself out. Halfway through, even a game about speeding becomes able to launch in ways the devs may not have intended.

Most games in the world of speed running do not put this aspect of the gaming community at the forefront, with some developers even going so far as to eliminate the most important achievements. Neon white is not, though. It wants you to take your time with it before breaking it down into smaller pieces and rearranging it to your liking. And it is absolutely on purpose.

The products discussed here were independently selected by our editors. GameSpot may receive a share of the revenue if you purchase anything featured on our site.

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