I bought a 2022 shooter and now I can’t stop chasing records

I’ve been fighting for records in a game from 2022 for a few weeks now and am really enjoying the ambitious duels.

I’ve been flirting with the 3D platformer “Neon White” for months and, after much hesitation, I finally decided to buy the 2022 indie game in March.

While Neon White isn’t a big name in the gaming industry, it was nominated for Best Action Game, Best Indie Game, and Best Debut Indie Game at the Game Awards the year it was released. Ultimately, however, Bayonetta 3 and Stray had to admit defeat.

Neon White usually costs €22.99 on Steam, I snapped it up on sale for half price and don’t regret it for a second. Alternatively, the game is also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch.

A fast-paced platformer with shooter elements

Neon White is a mix between a platformer and a first-person shooter. You take on the role of the eponymous protagonist and complete a series of levels. You have various weapons at your disposal that allow you to perform different maneuvers. With one weapon you can jump, with the other you can dash in your line of sight, a third can force you to hit the ground – you understand the principle.

You get the individual weapons via cards that you collect over the course of a level. However, the use of the cards is limited: if you empty the magazine of a weapon or use the weapon’s special ability, it is consumed and disappears from your repertoire. In total you can only collect and have active two different weapon cards.

There are also areas in each level where you have to use the abilities of your weapons specifically, for example to overcome an abyss or break through a gate. You may also have to eliminate a predetermined number of demons within the level. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to reach the finish line and complete the level.

Neon White shows gameplay in the launch trailer

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The levels are small courses that have a start and a finish point. Depending on how quickly you complete a level, you will receive different medals. Your times will also be recorded in a global leaderboard. Alternatively, you can also compare yourself specifically with your friends.

The entire game principle is designed for speedrunning and so, in addition to the obvious path, there are always shortcuts and ways to save time and reach the goal even faster.

The record hunt has grabbed me and won’t let me go

The special thing about Neon White is that everyone becomes a speed runner. I’ve never been a fan of learning exploits and gliding my way through walls or floors to complete my favorite games faster. Sure, there are also glitchless speedruns, but they just haven’t been able to grab me so far, as the levels are usually not finished race tracks that were designed for exactly that purpose, but are instead used for speedrunning.

Neon White is different. Each level is a speedrun track. Each level has its own tricks and special features. Every level gives me the chance to compete with other players, even if I don’t feel like playing PvP. And I did that extensively.

Luckily for me, I already have a few people on my friends list who played Neon White. So right from level 1 I was overcome with ambition and ran until I had the record. This continued and I spent far too much time in some courses before I had even seen and unlocked every level.

The ambition jumps like a spark to other players

My fire for the record hunt burned brightly as my ambition spread like a spark to my friends and ignited their ambition too. Shortly afterwards, a friend told me that he wanted to play Neon White again, now that the competitive situation had changed.

Another bought Neon White with the words “I’m just buying this now to destroy you in it.” And that’s what he did – so buying Neon White, the destruction is still a long time coming. Otherwise we have a very healthy and not at all competitive friendship.

Since I bought Neon White, I have wanted to continually improve my times on the individual routes. If I beat a record, I’ll get it back as quickly as possible. I even thought about what other game I might try speedrunning in. Overall, Neon White awakened a desire in me that Pokémon protagonist Ash Ketchum also knows: “I want to be the very best!”

I don’t just duel with my friends in neon white. We also try to outdo each other in the aim trainer Aimlabs: I played an aim trainer for 100 hours to get better at shooters – but did it really achieve anything?