Recently, or to be precise — today, I finished the storyline of a game called Neversong — a psychological adventure game developed by indie game developer Atmos Games together with Serenity Forge. I also know Atmos Games as Thomas Brush — a youtube blogger and game developer, the creator of Pinstripe (the one I still didn’t manage to try, but watch me), but Atmos Games is also 2 more people — Caleb Furrow and Hector Rodrigues.
Neversong was successfully promoted via Kickstarter with a previous name — Once upon the Coma raising $85,000+ and finally released for the world in May 2020. Now it’s available for almost all platforms, including iOS, PC, and consoles - so you can try it whatever platform you are comfortable with.
Being subscribed to Thomas Brush youtube for a while I was interested to know about his new game and when I heard that it is available for all platforms — I immediately run to App Store to check it out. It appeared as a part of Apple Arcade, which I canceled some time ago, so I was forced to renew it instantly to check out the game.
In short — this is a very atmospheric and beautiful platformer that tells you a noir love story. This is not the game like Super Meat Boy — you won’t probably find any serious challenges in Neversong, it’s rather an engaging story with some simple puzzles and light boss fights. I caught a thought at the begging of the game that it felt like a quest room, but a game. To escape the room it took me around 4 hours. By the way, the overall feeling reminded me of Alice: Madness Returns.
The regards to the gameplay, the game leads you through a couple of missions that unlock your abilities, which, therefore, make it possible to access new territories and proceed with the story. Overall I can’t say I experienced something dramatically new, it’s hard to innovate in platformers as this is a populated genre (by the way one of my favorite ones) but it feels well-fit together and the gameplay experience is solid.
Long story short…
What I like about the game
- Visual. It is a bit depressing, sometimes scary (characters alone look like they escaped some horror cartoon) and psychedelic but still I find it attractive and touching, it is also obvious to be very quality visual. The way simple animations are used to make it even more alive and atmospheric worth mentioning. For example, when your main character runs — it shakes like a doll contributing to this freaky look.
- Story. Even though it rather simple and not too novel, it still very touching. The images used in the game are well made and trigger emotions — every kid is supposed to remind you of someone you probably knew. The dialogs even when silly still make you read them through — they fit the atmosphere nicely.
- Sound. The whole work done with sounds are great, even though I am not the best ears I can say that I was pleased with the way it felt to play this game with sounds. I love how sounds are sewn to the story with that piano.
- Length of the game. It is a bit contradictory, but sometimes games like this can be just too long. Especially with the atmosphere like this — it might affect your mood. And due to this, sometimes it becomes hard to finish some awesome games. I am ashamed to say that I still haven’t finished Hollow Knight, even though the game is gorgeous. And here Neversong is perfect — I finished it in a matter of a week and hungry for more, which is better than being tired from a game.
What I think can be improved
- Controls. Well, there are not many options with the controls on the mobile, but still. Here you have standard movement “stick” on the left and three actions on the right — jump, fight, and toggle skateboard. And while jump is the default action — tap anywhere, the other 2 are made with buttons at the bottom of the right screen. And it’s the most comfortable place to land your thumb and jump is the most common action! As a result, I missed a lot, using skateboard instead of jumping and it’s frustrating.
- Bosses, or perhaps the Final Boss. They are not hard to win, and it’s ok, considering the entire game is far from being hardcore, but fighting the final boss was simply boring. Hide, wait for the boss to do specific actions — jump and hit. Then again hide and wait. The overall dynamic is low and when you fail, mostly due controls or because you’ve fallen asleep it’s frustrating to start over.
In the end, I loved the game and will wait for a new creation from Atmos Games, they prove their name — the atmosphere is special in their games. I would definitely recommend to try it, especially if you already have Apple Arcade subscription. Though if not and you are more into games like Super Meat Boy, or not a fan of platformers as it is, than, perhaps, you need to think twice before buying, as the challenge is pretty low and the total gameplay time is also modest — maybe it will take more than 4 hours for you, but I doubt it will be a significant difference.
By the way, check out the Thomas Brush`s channel — it is a nice one, Thomas is very interesting to listen to, especially if you are an indie dev, or interested to become one.