Review: Neverout (2018)

Neverout is a unique and challenging puzzle game offering hours of immersive gameplay.

Neverout is a unique puzzle game developed by Gamedust that was originally released back in 2016. This was the studio’s first full VR game and luckily for them received critical acclaim and was very well received by GearVR players. First impressions make it very obvious that this game was developed to be played in VR but it plays very well on Switch and thanks to the unique gameplay style could very easily have been a Switch exclusive.

Neverout is inspired by the Canadian cult movie The Cube (1997), where a group of captives find themselves trapped inside a series of murderous cube shaped rooms. Neverout follows this example and puts players into a small claustrophobic cube shaped room with only one exit. There is no story in the game, instead players will simply make their way through over 60 levels each with their own challenging obstacles.

Gameplay presents a very creepy and unnerving atmosphere, and while you do not encounter any enemies within the game, the environment definitely does not feel safe. The first 20 puzzles or so are fairly straightforward, being used to introduce you to the cube and get you accustomed with the unique gameplay style.

The mission of the game is to simply make your way out of the cube, and while this is obviously made more challenging by throwing in obstacles such as electric fields, spikes, portals, and movable blocks, the game gives you another challenge by placing the exit on the walls and ceilings or by hiding it all together. If you walk towards the wall of the cube you will not be hit by a dead end, instead the whole cube will turn and you will find yourself able to walk on all four walls. This mechanic sounds very confusing but is surprisingly easy to get to grips with. Being able to walk on all four walls of the cube gives you a new perspective of the room and obviously makes it possible to reach the exit that is sitting on the ceiling. However, one thing to note is that this will also change the gravity in the cube, meaning movable items will move with you. This presents its own challenges as not only could a block fall and kill you but one wrong movement could send all your progress crashing to the floor.

The unique gravity-shifting mechanics is what makes Neverout unique and despite its lack of story the game is very immersive. For a puzzle game Neverout is quite lengthy but is challenging enough to offer hours of gameplay. The 60 something levels that you make your way through vary in difficulty and take a lot of trial and error in order to complete them. Every few levels the game throws in a new obstacle which keeps you interested and gets you both excited and scared about what challenges are still to come.

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