Neon White, an extremely stylish shooter about exterminating demons as fast as possible, finally has a release date. It’s out June 16 for PC and Switch.
First announced during a Nintendo Direct last year, Neon White is getting published by Annapurna Interactive, the mid-sized purveyor of offbeat but intriguing games like Maquette, Outer Wilds, and Sayonara Wild Hearts. It’s the sophomore title of Donut County developer Ben Esposito.
Neon White is about as far a swing in the opposite direction of Donut County as possible. You play as a Neon—someone who, in Neon White’s fiction, had a violent life on earth and awoke in the afterlife—and find yourself part of a demon-hunting competition. That mostly plays out vis-à-vis running and gunning your way through brief platforming stages in the afterlife. But there are also dating sim elements. And a card-carrying mechanic. You equip weapons by holding onto equippable cards. If you want to use your weapon as, y’know, a weapon, you can. Toss the card away, though, and you’ll temporarily unlock a platforming mechanic (a dash, a jump, that sort of thing), which can help you complete levels even faster.
Those levels, according to Esposito, can be completed in a flash; they’re intended to last anywhere from 10 seconds to two minutes, depending on how skilled you are.
The most striking thing about Neon White isn’t the gameplay, though: It’s just how freakin’ cool everything about it seems. There are demons and talking cats and jazz-era tailored suits. It’s done up in vivid, eye-popping Paradise Killer-esque art direction accentuated by laissez-faire writing. (“Can’t believe god himself decided to bless me with the thing I love most,” the side character Neon Red says at one point. “A completely clueless boy.”) You get the sense this game, in a way few are, is totally carefree.
“The energy that powers this game is teen energy,” developer Ben Esposito told Kotaku last year. “This is what I would have thought was the coolest thing ever when I was a teenager inspired by, like, Y2K era-anime and The Matrix and all this stuff.”