Puzzle games and VR seem to go quite nicely together, what with the recent success of Tetris Effect you’d expect there’d be a bit more noise about Gamedust’s Neverout.
The game is a puzzler and it’s best played in VR. Honestly, I think I’d have turned it off after ten minutes if I was stuck playing the traditional way – but that’s just me. This review will be based primarily on my time with the game in PlayStation VR. So bear that in mind.
So, it’s a puzzler, but it feels like there’s more to it. You’re dumped into a cuboid room that’s made up of grids and blocks. There’s no telling how you got there, besides the few gruffles and shuffles beforehand, so it seems like there’s something more sinister at play. I remember taking it all in and thinking “shit, I’m in a Saw movie”. Thankfully I wasn’t, but at the same time, I wouldn’t have minded a bit more meat on the bones; How did I get there? Who’s in charge? Why am I doing this? These are all questions that, when answered, could make for an interesting sequel.
I’ve not even touched on the gameplay and I’m already thinking about a follow-up, so that should tell you something about how the rest of this is going to go…
Gameplay is complicated and if you are or were in the “special” class at school, I hate to say it but you’re gonna struggle. Heck, I consider myself to be at least of average intelligence (I’m writing words, c’mon!) and I found myself lost for hours inside my sweaty headset as the game’s puzzles got the best of me. See, each room has an escape, but you need to figure out how to escape. The game does very little to help, aside from the brief tutorial at the beginning of the game, so you’re really left to your own devices.
It’s not just as simple as moving a block one way or another. No, this is 2018, my dears. You need to think in the 3D space, even more so if you going to be a part of it. The rooms can be rotated, which in VR is a bit weird, yet well done. You’ll need to be mindful of what happens when you move the room around though, as a wrong move could end in disaster.
While there are no enemies to kill you in Neverout, death always finds a way. Whether it be electric barriers or spikes impaling you, death is an option. Well, you shouldn’t consider it gameplay option, but you know what I mean. What I found is that I was always a brain fart away from being mince meat. Make a small mistake and it could cost you. Make a big mistake and it’ll definitely cost you. Death also means the room reverting to its original layout. It’s not such a bad thing, but when you know you’re just a couple of moves away from escape and you make a tiny wrong move and the level resets, it’s crushing. On the other hand, it should make for some impressive videos from those who care to memorise the quickest escapes.
As I touched on earlier, there’s a creepy aspect to the game and its setting. This isn’t just a one-off feeling. It’s something that carries through the entire game, from its clinical padded cells to its metallic prisons, each room is unique and has its own less-than-charming feel. It’s just a shame, then, that the game doesn’t do much else with such a well-realised setting. And it is well realised within PSVR’s constraints. But still, even just a creepy old man voice speaking over my actions every now and again would have pushed me on further and made me think twice about taking a break from a difficult puzzle. Oh well. Maybe in the sequel.
Neverout PS4/PSVR Review
Neverout is a great PSVR puzzlers that's worth a look if you're searching for a brain-aching challenge. Taking full use of the extra dimension, Neverout is creepy, challenging, and claustrophobic in every sense. It's a shame the unique setting couldn't have been better utilised with a bit of a narrative, but maybe that's just me - it is a puzzle game after all.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.
Chris has been writing about gaming news for far too long, and now he’s doing it even more. A true PlayStation know-it-all, Chris has owned just about every Sony console that ever existed. Trophies are like crack to this fella.