The Best Tech Demo
A refrain I would hear growing up was how the world was full of talented people with wasted potential – “so work hard and don’t get complacent!'” was the obvious subtext of that unsolicited story. And while true, it was probably an unnecessary warning to a kid that was already suffering from anxiety, OCD and perfectionist tendencies. Given how most of us (not all, but most) are more hard on ourselves than is useful, who was that even designed for?
Neon White. That’s who that was designed for. This is the kind of game that shows up to basketball try-outs 30 minutes late and makes starting point guard in a pair of Vans. It has probably the most arresting art style of the year, iconic gravely voice actors (as if to cement the Spike Spiegel comparison), and a fresh Battle Royale backstory in an otherwise played out genre. It’s the kind of game that makes all the jealous wannabes of high fantasy, zombie apocalypses, and space operas mope around and listen to Eliot Smith.
And so what does our Division-1 scholarship bound prodigy do? Not much. He drops out to smoke weed and listen to The Doors. Which is still undoubtedly cool, but also kind of, ‘a shame’ or whatever. Awesome character designs turn out to not mean much if you can’t decide if you’re a hardened criminal or bumbling self-conscious 17 year-old. It’s like Neon White watched Cowboy Bebop and Deadpool and thought, ‘I can do both’. The result: Cowboy Bebop on Netflix.
With beautiful aesthetics mixed with droning dialogue and boring story arches, it really falls on the puzzle solving to carry the weight (yes, this is a puzzle game. I was shocked too). And in that department it’s… good enough. Controls are smooth, progression measured, but it also never really takes any risks. A concept sticks around for a few levels, then it’s pretty much gone, never really cumulating into something bigger. Just one slick tech demo after another.
At least this has a chance for a dope sequel.
Memory: Opening anime cinematic (I would watch an anime of this)