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Steam Next Fest: Neon White, speedrunners’ delight

Hello! Over the next few days we hope to be bringing you impressions of a few of the demos in the Steam Next Fest.

Neon White is a hyperviolent card-based speedrunner that takes place in a heaven that feels more like hell. Inevitably, it’s a treat.

Each brisk level sees you taking down a set number of demons as you make it to the exit. You have a standard blade attack and a jump on the left trigger, but the game doesn’t want you to use the blade very often. Instead, you collect other cards that give you different weapons – guns, say, with limited ammo.

So you race between weapons cards taking out baddies? Half right. The twist is that each weapon card will have an ability that is triggered when you discard it. So shoot a bunch of people and then discard the gun in order to double-jump, or throw a bomb that blows up a group of peope in one go, or knocks down a red barrier. Or maybe, the bomb allows you to do a sort of rocket jump to reach even higher.

Neon White trailer.

Obviously, you’re doing all of this at speed, in tricksy levels built of cool water and blinding white stone. Levels take seconds to play through, and your encouraged to think about how you can shave the time down so they’re even quicker. Meanwhile, wrinkles emerge, including balloon enemies you can bounce on to kill – and get a bit of air – and new cards that mix things up further.

The crucial thing for a speedrunner as complex and demanding as this? Restarts are quick and easy. Neon White is already enormous fun – and seeing the kind of magic that the pros can pull off with the final version will be brilliant.

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