On the surface, the gameplay of Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield isn’t all that interesting. You run from left to right, slide, jump and sprint past obstacles until you reach the end of a level a few minutes later. After a while, the easier difficulties get a little boring. Never Yield, however, is an exciting journey through a dystopian Detroit that is worth it in just about an hour.
You take on the role of Wally as he speeds through Detroit after finding his stolen property. On the way, police, drones, traffic and all kinds of roadblocks stand in his way and try to stop him from taking back what is his. The story, told through short cutscenes before each level, is useful at best and not much deeper than the set dressing that determines why you run and what you run from. But in a game that consists only of running, it is enough to get the job done.
Never Yield is an autorunner, so Wally automatically speeds forward so you can focus on avoiding what’s in your way. Four moves are available to you – small jump, high jump, slide or line – which are each linked to a different direction key and arranged in color to match the prompts on the screen. For example, when Wally approaches a slide, blue markers will appear on the right side of the screen. In addition, the hurdle itself is blue and time slows down briefly so you can measure the distance before you have to make your move. I really like how Never Yield Telegraphen encounters obstacles before I get to them. Most of the time, missing felt like my fault; I had the information I needed, I just messed up the execution. There were only a few exceptions. For example, I struggled to get the timing in a mid-game level where I jumped over a moving van. I had to repeat th is sequence more times than I wanted, which tested my patience, but these moments are rare.
On the Normal difficulty level, it has to be argued that Never Yield is actually too good at warning you of oncoming threats. During my first playthrough, I rarely felt challenged. In the end, the whole game felt boring as the difficulty rarely increases from one level to the next.
Never Yield is made specifically for its more difficult difficulties where the time slowdowns and warnings are either reduced or eliminated and obstacles are more common. I got into my runs a lot more when playing on higher difficulty levels and found the gameplay to be a lot more interesting and fun when actually challenged. I recommend that you increase your difficulty as soon as possible.
Never Yield’s Detroit takes liberal inspiration from past cyberpunk real estate – which basically means it’s an American city viewed through the lens of Tokyo. While the merging of an American city with an Asian city to hint at retro-futur ism is pretty inferior at this point, Never Yield has good style. The cel shading makes the game look chic and the neon against the night sky provides a nice contrast. While I can’t say I was impressed with the setting of the game, I enjoyed it.
What blew my mind in Never Yield was the soundtrack, which is without a doubt the star of the entire game. The soundtrack, composed by the artist Danime-Sama, combines jazz, hip-hop, rock and a whole range of different genres into a completely flowing soundscape that fits both the gameplay and the setting. Every time I reached 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 a guitarist who plays the solo in the song of that level and creates physical music in the world that you have to avoid. That rules.
Never Yield is a nice package. After increasing the difficulty of the game, the fantastic soundtrack, fun world, and engaging gameplay made it an experience that I enjoyed a couple of times. With Switch, in particular, it’s worth looking for a game if you can. Although there can be some minor stumbling blocks, I found it to be a rewarding run.