Developer: Atmos Games
Publisher: Serenity Forge
Genre: Adventure, Platformer
Platform: XB1, PS4, Switch, PC, Mobile
Age Rating: T (Teen) / PEGI 7
Release Date: July 2020
Price: $14.99 / €14.99 / £13.09
A code was provided for review purposes.
Imagine what it would feel like to be in a coma. Now, imagine that upon waking up from the coma, the world was a nightmare. In Neversong (formerly known as ‘Once Upon a Coma’), the new adventure platformer developed by Atmos Games and published by Serenity Forge, the lead character finds himself in this exact situation.
A young boy named Peet rested peacefully in a coma, and upon his awakening, finds out that his girlfriend Wren has disappeared. Not only that, but all of the adults have either vanished or gone insane. Moreover, monsters aplenty scatter the lands he once called home. As Peet, the player will traverse a handful of various levels in pursuit of Wren and to figure out what exactly happened while he was out. The story is predictably emotional and dark, with some very serious themes found beneath the surface. Truly, the only way to describe such a narrative would be as captivating and gripping.
From a gameplay perspective, the game is relatively simple. It operates mostly as a 2D adventure platformer, blending elements from games such as Hollow Knight and LIMBO. Aside from jumping and attacking, there isn’t much else, making the controls very straightforward. Throughout the game, the player will encounter small puzzles and various challenges. Additionally, there are numerous enemies that will attack. Enemies drop sparkles that help upgrade Peet’s health, and there are a handful of necessary items that will be earned over time. Furthermore, there are these rare but optional collectibles called “coma cards.” They are tough to find but provide Peet with cosmetic upgrades.
Each level contains a boss that, upon defeat, will provide Peet with a melody to play on the piano in his home. Each song will unlock one of the aforementioned items that will allow Peet to advance on to new levels, such as grip gloves or an umbrella. Sometimes the player can get stuck, but many of the other personable characters in the game, all around Peet’s age, will provide helpful advice to guide the player along in difficult situations. Overall, the game is paced very well and the difficulty is just right.
Neversong presents itself extremely well. The hand-drawn art style is nothing short of stunning, providing the game with an immersive yet spooky atmosphere that feels perfect for the story. So, it somehow feels vibrantly colorful enough to be eye-catching, but darkly shaded enough to be haunting.
The levels are designed with nuance and detail. Unmatched by many other comparable games, this drives a player to search every nook and cranny for the solution to the puzzles, to find one of the collectible cards, or merely to soak in its artistic glory.
Finally, the music behind it all ties everything together. While the emphasis on music is slight in the narrative, it’s the actual soundtrack that truly heightens this game’s appeal. With a strong focus on the piano, the game is backed by enchanting compositions subtle enough to not take any spotlight away from the story, but prominent enough to reinforce the emotion behind it all.
Neversong is not merely a great video game, but also a striking piece of art and an absolutely breathtaking composition; therefore, Neversong is a genuine masterpiece that is hard to step away from and will inevitably leave a very long-lasting impression on its players.