Neversong is a dark and surreal adventure game packed with creative characters and a haunting world to get lost in. Players will control Pete, a young orphaned boy who falls into a coma after seeing his girlfriend be kidnapped by an elusive creature on an abandoned asylum floor. It’s a creepy concept, and one that delivers excellently from start to finish, with only one minor hiccup keeping it from total perfection.
So with that, let’s dive into the spooky world of Neversong.
As previously touched on, the game begins with the kidnapping of Pete’s girlfriend, Wren, and Pete falling into a coma. When he wakes up, he finds himself in Wren’s house, as her parents have been taking care of him, to find that all the adults of the town have mysteriously vanished. After walking around and talking to the town of Redwood’s personable and quirky inhabitants, you’ll begin to progress through the game.
The general algorithm of Neversong is pretty simple. An NPC will give you a rough idea of where to go, and you’ll travel there and make your way to a final boss. Upon defeating this boss, you’ll learn a new song. You can then return to Wren’s house and play the song on Wren’s piano in a style similar to playing Link’s ocarina in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. This will in turn grant you access to a new item, such as a skateboard and handy magnetic gloves.
The gameplay between entering an area for the first time and the final bosses are a perfect blend of puzzling and platforming, both of which also increase in difficulty enough to keep you engaged but not so much that it’s unmanageable. Neversong is a pretty short game, taking no more than 5 and a half hours to complete, so the puzzle designs and platforming layouts are always fresh and clearly distinct as new ideas.
Next i want to talk about the bosses, where my only issue with the game comes in. To give the problem some context, I’ll give you a brief overview of how the boss fights work. Basically, each boss will have a few different attack patterns that they’ll perform in random orders throughout the fight, pretty standard. You only have to hit the boss five times in a fight, and that’s not just five simple hits and you’re done. There are only specific times you can preform the retaliation between their own attacks.
The problem being that the space between their attack patterns felt way too long to keep the momentum of the pressure they’d created in the attack before, leading the fights to feel static. However, when playing, this comes across as a very small issue and is easy to look past.
Despite falling behind a little in the boss fight department, Neversong absolutely soars in its art. Bold and blocky characters, bosses, and enemies stand out from softly coloured backgrounds and create a really unique and striking overall picture no matter where you are in the game.
Neversong also uses colours to add to the darker side of the game, making the areas where you are safe and the areas where you aren’t clearly distinguishable. The game also hosts an epic cast of unique characters with stellar voice acting that blend their way into the story smoothly, and I was always looking forward to my next interaction with them.
Neversong is a creepy game, but something I love about it is that it doesn’t feel the need to spend all its time scaring the player. Instead it leaves room to develop characters and the world in which the game is set without ever undermining just how disturbingly dark the story is. The game has a fantastic story, a blend of love and pure horror, and I was always eager for my new chunk of lore and seeing how it added to the constantly surprising tale Neversong tells. The whole spooky vibe is massively helped by the sounds. An occasional scream or the creaking of a door really added to that stereotypical horror feeling.
My personal favourite thing about the game’s storytelling section is the small narrated picture book sections, which are quite frankly terrifying. I mean just look at this, scary.
So to sum it up, Neversong is a near-perfect miss match of heart, hope, and horror. Full of enticing characters, disturbing world-building, and beautifully whimsical art, every turn brought new surprises and another surprising turn.
The game is short, but it packs so much stellar content into such a short space of time, especially the amazing plot twist at the end. Definitely a title that should be on your radar!
Neversong Review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Serenity Forge
Developer: Thomas Brush, Atmos Games
Release Date: July 16th, 2020
Price: $14.99 , £13.09, €14.49
Game Size: 3933 MB
Terrifying but brilliant story
Great characters with wonderful voice acting
Clever blend of puzzles and platforming
Slight issues with some boss fights