Neon White is the Best Dreamcast Game You’ve Never Played
Angel Matrix’s Neon White feels like it came from an era before strange. This is perhaps the greatest compliment you could give. Many games are so safe nowadays, and seem to be designed by committee. But Neon White feels like something Sega would make in their pomp. It’s an arcade-y, super-stylised romp, that focuses on making the player feel great while having a blast.
Neon White, with its dance music from the 2000s and the boisterous title cards, would be right at home on Dreamcast along with Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio. Neon White is an excellent game, if you didn’t know.
After you have been given your orders, you will go off to cleanse various areas of Heaven while you are against the clock. Neon White is an FPS with cards. However, it is not a deck-builder. The cards can be used as secondary fire modes. You can grab a card, fire it normally, and then discard it to activate a secondary ability. For example, the pistol gives you an extra jump while the rocket launcher can be used to grab a grappling hook. This adds a layer of strategy to Neon White. You’ll need to mentally plan when you should discard a card in order to maximize its potential. However, it is important to stress that the game is not as difficult to understand for new players as other card games. It’s more like a nice, violent Uno than Slay The Spire.
Mega Crit’s deck-builder is mega-fun, but Neon White has one thing in common: how addictive it can be. My Neon White leaderboard placement was a surprise to me as someone who doesn’t care about being the best at any game, but is content to just coast along with the averages. To try to get the best time possible and unlock the Ace medal, I have not replayed the same levels since My Friend Pedro. But even Pedro was not as interesting as this.
It helps that most levels take less than a minute. The basic loop of learning levels (including enemy placement and card placement) is intrinsically rewarding. This is augmented by the satisfaction of how you can shave off a fraction more time as you climb the leaderboard and beat a developer’s score. Although I did it quite often in my playthrough, I don’t like to boast about it.
You are the “Neon White”, a Neon who has just arrived in Heaven to perform demon cleanup duty. The Believers take Neons from Hell and make them stay there. White can’t recall any of his past, but the Believers plucked them from Hell. Talk to other Neons to unravel the mystery. Some have deep connections to White’s history, while others can also tell you what you should do. Sometimes they are John Cena, too. You’ll see.