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Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield Review – Running Wild



At first glance, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield gameplay is not at all interesting. You run left to right, gliding, jumping, and sprinting past obstacles until you reach the end of a level a few minutes later. After a while it gets a bit bland on the easier difficulties. However, backed up by a fantastic soundtrack and such a redundant strong art style, Never Yield is an engaging journey through a dystopian Strait that, only about an hour away, is worth taking.

You take on the role of Wally, as he runs through Detroit after collecting his stolen goods. Along the way, police, drones, traffic and all manner of roadblocks stand in his way, trying to prevent him from taking back what is his. The story, which is told through brief cutscenes before each level, is usable at best and not much deeper than the set-dressing that establishes why you’re running and what you’re running from. But in a game that’s all about running, you just have to get the job done.

Never Yield is an autorunner, so Wally automatically rushes forward, letting you focus on dodging whatever gets in your way. You have four movements at your disposal – small jump, high jump, slide or dash – each linked to a different directional button and colored to match the prompts on the screen. For example, when Wally walks up to a slide, blue highlights appear on the right side of the screen. Plus, the obstacle itself is blue, and time slows down briefly, so you can measure the distance before you need to make your move. I really like the way Never Yield telegraphs obstacles before I hit them. More often than not, missing one was my fault; I had the necessary information, I just messed up the execution. There were only a few exceptions. For example, I struggled to nail the timing in a mid-game level where I jumped over a moving van. I had to retry this streak more times than I wanted, which tested my patience, but those moments are rare.

On normal difficulty, there is an argument to be made that Never Yield is actually too effective at warning you of impending threats. Throughout my first game, I rarely felt challenged. In the end, the whole game started to feel bland, as the difficulty rarely increases from level to level.

Never Yield feels specially designed for its tougher difficulties, where wait times and warnings are either reduced or removed and obstacles appear more frequently. I became a lot more engaged in my runs when playing at higher difficulties, and in turn, I found the gameplay a lot more interesting and fun when actually challenged. I recommend increasing your difficulty as soon as possible.

Detroit of Never Yield is liberally inspired by earlier cyberpunk properties – which primarily means it’s an American city seen through the prism of Tokyo. While merging an American city with an Asian city to infuse retro futurism is pretty derivative at this point, Never Yield has a good flair. The cel-shading gives the game a smooth look and the neon against the night sky provides a nice contrast. While I can’t say I was bowled over by the game’s tuning, I enjoyed it.

What blew me away about Never Yield was its soundtrack, which is undoubtedly the star of the whole game. Composed by artist Danime-Sama, the soundtrack combines jazz, hip-hop, rock and a whole host of different genres in a completely fluid soundscape that matches gameplay and scenery in equal measure. Every time I took it to a new level, I was excited to hear the next song, and none of them disappointed once. There is even a level where you fight against a guitarist, who plays the solo in the song of that level, creating some physical music in the world that you have to avoid. This settles.

Never Yield is a clever set. Once I picked up on the difficulty of the game, the fantastic soundtrack, fun world, and engaging gameplay made it an experience that I have enjoyed time and time again. Especially on Switch, it’s a game worth researching if you can. While there might be a few minor stumbles, I found it to be worth it.

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