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 Model, Outer Wildsand 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.”