Neon White Is A Massive Dork And I Love It
After hearing near-unanimous praise the likes of which I haven’t seen since the release of Hades, I decided to finally jump into Neon White and see what all of the fuss was about. Much like Hades, everyone was absolutely right – I’m only halfway through the campaign right now but I’m already confident in saying that, if it keeps up this blistering pace, Neon White is an easy GOTY contender.
Aside from knowing that everyone loved Neon White, I purposefully didn’t read up on the game and decided to dive in head first, only hearing that it was a speedrun-focused experience and something really special. That was proven true straight away, but what really pulled me into Neon White was its incredibly charming cast of characters and the stellar writing that made each of its disparate souls feel real and relatable.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the lovingly dorky lead, Neon White himself. If, like me, you started the game having only seen the intro and knowing the basic premise, you might think that a killer assassin with an equally killer getup like White’s would be played as a stoic badass only interested in getting kills and coming out on top. Add legendary voice actor Steve Blum to the mix, and I thought for sure that White would be nothing more than a cool archetype with little depth to his personality.
That couldn’t be further from the truth. Although Neon White is a skilled killer and a badass, he’s also an absolute simp, a good bro to hang out with, and a good role model to those around him. He tries desperately to hide behind his literal demon mask and come off like a mysterious lone wolf who doesn’t need anybody, but then moments later he’ll be screaming about how he should have a cool werewolf mask, whine that he’s not a baby, and wonder aloud about alt girls. We stan a simp like him.
The main story eventually gives you more than enough to know that White is a loveable dork. Endearing glimpses into his personality come from advancing relationships with other characters and through the Heavenly Delight ticket events that reward you for reaching certain ranks in the story.
These moments have White either just casually shooting the shit with another character or joining them for an activity in Heaven, and they’re always a delight. Seeing White and Violet doing karaoke, only to find out that White apparently has a very specific taste in edgy music that no one has heard of, and watching him craft friendship bracelets that spell die for his sworn enemy are just a couple of highlights. Every scene is worthwhile just to see a little more of White’s personality shine through.
This might be the massive dork in me talking, but White feels real in a way that I haven’t seen since Zagreus in Hades. Although the whole cast of Neon White is fantastic, some of them can feel a little archetypal, like Yellow just being a big dude bro and Violet being a violent killer (who TheGamer’s editor-in-chief Stacey Henley appropriately loves), but White feels like his own unique character with all kinds of different traits.
In a game that’s so packed with stuff to love, Neon White himself is a true highlight and a protagonist that will hopefully join the likes of Travis Touchdown and Dante as relatable dorky badasses that will go down in gaming history.
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