There are many reasons to love neon white. It’s a game confident in its ambitions, singularly focused on delivering small slices of exhilarating, speedrun-centric action gameplay. In a year that has already seen a slew of strong releases, neon white has already staked an honorable claim in many games of the year lists with a consistently strong moment-to-moment gameplay loop combined with an impressive set of aesthetic choices.
For all the (many) things he obtains right that have been worked out in our neon white examination, there are just as many details that have been overlooked in its assessment. In a game as energetic and engaging as neon whiteit can be easy to miss some of the finer details to build the experience, as you’re often too busy focusing on achieving that platinum run.
The particular element of neon white what inspires me the most, however, has a lot less to do with how it feels to play (which is still pretty fantastic) and a lot more to do with the nuts and bolts of its visual design. Although many of neon whiteThe character designs and even its visual renditions of the sky are refreshing to see, it’s the way the game communicates information to the player through its user interface and graphic design that could be its main visual accomplishments.
neon whiteStylish HUD
As you speed up neon whiteWith Beyond Polygon renderers, you’ll instinctively train your eyeballs to trace a path back and forth between the center and bottom corners of the screen. In front of you is the path you must conquer, and in the corners are your soul cards, your health, your ammo: the tools you will use to create the path. neon white moves quickly and luckily the information you need is delivered to you quickly thanks to the game’s HUD design.
The Soul Cards themselves, which represent your vital selection of weapons and their abilities, are a masterclass in such effective design. The black silhouette of the weapon in the center of the map gives a clear impression of the type of weapon being used, while the faded markings behind it subtly indicate how that weapon attacks.
For example, the default katana weapon wielded by the titular protagonist has a clear silhouette of the sword, but behind that silhouette is a faded crescent pattern, indicating the sharp arc the weapon uses in-game. Compare this with the gun, which has two sharp angles behind it to indicate both its faster speed or alternatively the multiple jumps that can be done using its secondary ability, and suddenly you start to realize the level of detail presented to the player at through the elegant designs of these cards.
Beyond the graphics on the maps, it’s their use of color that really elevates them from mere HUD assets to flashes of design brilliance. Just like the environments of neon white which juxtapose large expanses of white with small flecks of ultra-saturated color on scenery elements to indicate your path forward, soul maps use this juxtaposition of colors to quickly illuminate a weapon’s remaining usefulness for the player.
When using a weapon, the color quickly drains from its background in a way that’s both satisfying and consistent with the game’s use of color elsewhere. Take a quick look at your map, and the ratio of white to color will quickly show you have plenty of “use” left, without you having to recognize any numbers. It’s a creative method of presenting such a basic piece of data that ultimately helps give a sense of the game’s overall aesthetic, which repeatedly pushes white against color simply as a stylistic flourish, but also as a means of transmitting information to the player.
neon whiteThe aesthetic flourishes of
The same praise for the “sleek but effective” communication of information can also be applied to the designs in the left corner of the screen, which not only showcase your health using iconic (and decidedly neon) hearts, but also a portrait of your protagonist, neon whitethat evolves with your movements.
At first I wasn’t able to discern if there was any particular purpose to this portrait, but as I continued playing I determined that while it was a bit less practical than some of the other elements in the HUD, it was used to base the rapid movement of the game and link it to the character you are guiding. As a game that doesn’t show arms or hands from a first-person perspective, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this portrait as a sort of visual reminder of what’s really going on. .
As you progress through the levels, the portrait swings hypnotically. If you stop, so does the portrait. It’s the kind of neat thing that isn’t completely necessary but certainly has minor gameplay merit, existing almost midway between function and aesthetics.
Right behind the character, there’s also a text string thrown in for aesthetic purposes, looking like it was pulled straight from cowboy bebopiconic opening sequence and slapped in the corner of the screen. It’s an odd choice, and not particularly functional, but again, it’s another way of conveying a vibe, which is something neon white is incredibly talented.
In effect, neon white is so good at conjuring up a mood that if it did anything more, it’d probably be overdoing it. Yet the game often shows careful planning and restraint in its art direction and especially its graphic design. Even beyond the HUD, the graphics for in-game menus and end-of-level screens are clear, concise, and consistent. I’m a huge fan of how, as your neon rank increases, a burst of neon color briefly ignites behind the monochrome number. It’s one of the many ways the game reminds you of its identity through brief but creative animation.
Style and content
In all of these design decisions, neon white regularly invokes contrasts: the divine and the ungodly (in the drawings of celestial creatures and the opposing “demonic” masks of the Neons), the ancient and the modern (in the architecture of the places, which mixes the two), and of course, color and tone (in the contrast between monochrome and bright color) are all pushed against each other in the game’s design. Amid what can sometimes feel like a chaotic symphony of visual ideas, neon white ultimately keeps the presentation of its most essential information in an impressively balanced way: not so obscured by accents and flourishes, and not so mundane that it detracts from the game’s powerful art direction.
In the same way that the speedrun action gameplay shows clear focus with solid controls, a flexible set of mechanics, and a level design that emphasizes improving your own time, the game’s visual design shows the same level of concentration thanks to this complex balance of style. and substance, something that ripples through every detail of the game.
You could never be wrong neon white for any other game, but it achieves this uniqueness without sacrificing any of the necessary functions of its visuals. In this way, neon whiteThe HUD and many surrounding graphical elements provide a compelling blueprint on how to approach user interface design in a modern action game: if you’re looking for divine inspiration for your next action game project, look no further than neon white.