Neversong | Nintendo Switch Review.

Thursday 30 July 2020

A young girl in a cage sad and depressed with the name Neversong next to her

Publisher: Serenity Forge
Developer: Atmos Games, Serenity Forge
Switch Review

*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone. 

I haven't played a puzzle game in a while and as soon as I saw I was given the opportunity to review the Indie game title Neversong I was so excited. The style of the game is what first appeared to me, it has a dark atmosphere that sets a very low mood throughout the game, it also set each scene for the story. It reminds me of Tim Burton and as a huge fan of him I think this is a big reason I enjoyed Neversong so much, the came focuses on a young boy named Peet who hasn't had the best life or upbringing. He leads a very lonely life until Wren comes into it. She lights up his world and they do everything together, Wren gave Peet something he has always wanted and taught him not only to how to play the piano but from the likes of the game that it is possible for him to find happiness in the darkest places he finds himself. At the start of the game, it comes with a warning and touches on death so please if you're struggling beware this may not be the best game for you to play right now.

One day whilst trying to find a place to play the come across an abandoned asylum, now I'm not a rocket scientist but usually when any abandoned place in brought into the narrative you just know something bad is going to happen, unfortunately for Peet he was powerless from stopping Wren get taken by a monster called Dr. Smile, that name alone is creepy! Dr. Smile reminds me of a mix of Slender Man and Dracula, he has a mysterious aura around him and the noises he immits are bound to give kids nightmares. When Wren gets taken Peet is so shocked he goes into a coma, once he wakes up he does all he can (with the help of the other kids) to track Wren down.

Peet is in for a shock of his life when he discovers all the adults have disappeared so having to rely on some very annoying children to help him (he helps them throughout the game too) is going to be a big task, the story starts to open up like a folk tale, I was going to say fairy tale but they're usually happy and bright whereas folk tales often have a dark and deep story entangled in sadness which is exactly what Neversong is. Due to it having such a dark feel to I was cautious about how it would make me feel as I have been struggling lately but thanks to some fun humorous characters the tone of the game doesn't always stay dark.

The environment you travel through gets repetitive but it's all part of the journey, in order to progress you have to unlock certain features which then give you abilities to open the story to other locations and carry on your journey. Each ability has a use, you will need certain ones to fight and face boss fights which at times took me a couple of tries as I needed to work out the best way to defeat them. One boss I faced froze for about 2 minutes but luckily it corrected itself and I was able to defeat it without closing the game and starting from a save point.

Its clear Neversong is supposed to be like a nightmare, the enemies are strange and scary looking and yet I feel a lot of sympathy towards them when I learned who they were, there you were promising the kids in the town you would help find their missing parents but all along you're forced to kill them as they have turned into monsters. The bosses are the main focus to help you unlock your abilities, once defeated they give you a song which you play on Wren's piano, it then opens a room where you find a chest with your ability inside. Using the piano this way shows that Wren is helping not in body but through the piano which shows love, passion, and compassion towards Peet.

Whilst progressing through the story you can unlock some cool features where you can change how Peet looks, you can customise him to wear other characters' clothes and even look like the monsters in the game! They're collectible, so even if you don't get them all first time around you can play through again and make Peet look like a totally different person, this shouldn't take too long as it took me a little over 3 hours to finish. Neversong has no difficulty options and you can't go into the menu to find out the button layout, this is kind of clever because it will give away what you need to collect if it shows you the button layout so I'm not mad about that! 

There was only one puzzle throughout the whole game I was stuck on for longer than 20 minutes as I kept dying but I'm grateful that when I came back to life parts of the puzzle were still unlocked so I could move on to the next part and not have to unlock them again, for those who would prefer a challenge this feature may make you feel like it's a cop-out but for me, it was a big help especially as someone who isn't the best at puzzle games. Once you get used to how enemies work and the closer to the end your health bar also goes up, I was thankful for this as I was forever accidentally bumping into enemies as I moved from one section of the game to another.

The use of music reminds me a lot of the game Journey, I've always felt there is something beautiful about telling a story through music and using that in such an emotionally charged game as Neversong made it much more than just a puzzle game. There is a big message within Neversong and it is one I learned a long time for myself, the developers did a wonderful job putting this game together and putting their own twist on a puzzle game, I felt it was a sad yet daunting experience to play through and a lot of people will be able to identify with the subject it touches on.


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