On the surface, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield gameplay isn’t very interesting. Run from left to right, slide through obstacles, jump and sprint until you reach the end of the level after a few minutes. After a while, the simple difficulties become a little bland. But with a great soundtrack and verbose art style, Never Yield is a fascinating journey through Detroit, Dystopia, worth just an hour or so.
After regaining the stolen property, take on the role of Wally running through Detroit. Along the way, police, drones, traffic, and obstacles of all kinds get in the way of him and try to prevent him from getting his stuff back. The stories told through the short cutscenes before each level are useful at best and not much deeper than the set dressers that establish why you are running and what you are running. But a game that consists only of execution is enough to get the job done.
Never Yield is an autorunner, so Wally can automatically dash forward and focus on avoiding obstacles. There are four movements: small jump, high jump, slide, and dash, each associated with a different direction button and color-coded to match the on-screen prompts. For example, as Wally approaches the slide, a blue highlight appears on the right side of the screen. In addition, the hurdle itself is blue, which temporarily slows the time so you can measure the distance before you stop moving. I really like the way Never Yield sends a telegram before reaching an obstacle. In many cases, missing one felt like my fault. I had the information I needed, I just messed up the run. There were some exceptions. For example, I had a hard time deciding the timing at one level in the game that jumped over a moving van. This sequence had to be retried more than necessary and patience was tested, but these moments are rare.
At normal difficulty, it is argued that Never Yield is actually too good at warning about oncoming threats. Throughout my first playthrough, I rarely felt the challenge. The difficulty level rarely goes from one level to the next, so eventually the whole game started to be bland.
Never Yield doesn’t feel specially made for the more difficult difficulties of reducing or removing time dilations and warnings and making obstacles appear more often. When I played on higher difficulty, I became more engaged in my run, and the next time I actually tried, I found the gameplay to be much more interesting and enjoyable. We recommend that you increase the difficulty level as soon as possible.
Never Yield’s Detroit draws free inspiration from previously introduced cyberpunk properties. This is primarily an American city as seen through the lens of Tokyo. Fusing American and Asian cities to hint at retrofuturism is quite derivative at this point, but Never Yield has a good style. Cell shading makes the game look smooth, and neon against the night sky provides great contrast. I can’t say I was overwhelmed by the game settings, but it was fun.
What surprised me at Never Yield was its soundtrack. This is definitely the star of the whole game. Composed by artist Danime-Sama, the soundtrack combines different genres of jazz, hip hop, rock and different genres into a completely fluid soundscape that equally meets gameplay and settings. Every time I went to a new level, I was excited to hear the next song, but I was never disappointed. There is also a level where you play solos with songs of that level and fight guitarists who are making physical music in a world that must be avoided. That rule.
Never Yield is a sophisticated package. Increasing the difficulty of the game made it an experience that you enjoyed in a few plays with a great soundtrack, a fun world, and engaging gameplay. Especially on Switch, it’s a game worth looking for if possible. There may be a slight stumbling block, but I thought it was worth doing.