Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield Review

Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield presents a not-so-endless runner that oozes coolness, despite failing to present players with engaging gameplay.

Aerial_Knight's Never Yield Review
Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield Review

For years, endless runner games have been a great way to pass the time, consistently presenting players with challenges, but lacking any real narrative to keep them invested in the games’ universes. Previously, such runner-type games have been limited to mobile devices, but Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield sets out to break these boundaries. The not-so-endless runner was featured during Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase presentation last month, promising a slick new take on the runner genre.

Created and developed by Neil Jones, also known as Aerial_Knight, Never Yield is a 3D side-scroller where players perform acrobatic moves to stylishly avoid a variety of objects blocking their path. And while Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield is cool to the core, it fails to present a more substantial and engaging gameplay experience, ultimately falling flat in the long run.

The game follows Wally, a mysterious young individual who finds himself on the run from enemies through a 90s-inspired futuristic Detroit after uncovering deep secrets capable of changing the city as he knows it. Presented only through brief cutscenes without any lines of spoken dialogue, Never Yield‘s story leaves a lot to be interpreted by players, which can understandably leave just as many doors closed as it can open, depending on what players can infer.

Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield color-codes each of the 4 directional buttons on a controller or keyboard to a certain action, making for an incredibly simple pick-up-and-play control scheme. As players run from left-to-right, they can press “right” to dash through blue windows and past enemies chasing them, press “up” to jump over taller red obstacles and down to lower rooftops, press “down” to slide underneath purple enemies and low gaps, and press “left” to vault through yellow openings and over mid-height objects.

While inputting the wrong action for a particular object typically results in failure, it’s worth mentioning that some objects can be avoided with more than one input. Additionally, some fairly early or late inputs may be passed off by the game as successful, and although both of these instances are forgiving, it does come off as rather purpose-defeating, especially when considering the game’s overall lack of challenge.

When beginning the game or choosing to start a level, players can select from Normal Mode, Hard Mode, or Insane. While Normal Mode gives players both plenty of time to react thanks to a slowdown and a warning for what button to press, Hard Mode gives players a slightly shorter slowdown along with a warning, and Insane removes both the slowdown and warning altogether, adding even more obstacles for players to avoid. It’s quite easy to get into the flow of avoiding obstacles, so players will likely graduate from Normal Mode or Hard Mode in just a couple of levels.

However, it sometimes feels like Insane should be the baseline difficulty settingin Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield. While pulling off trick stunts to avoid obstacle after obstacle in succession can be satisfying, the game quickly becomes incredibly repetitive and somewhat mindless. Not only are new obstacles rarely introduced throughout the game, but after they are, they’ll appear more and more frequently throughout the rest of the levels, quickly losing any novelty. Many of the environments are recycled on occasion as well, with no real feeling of progressing difficulty. At times, it seems as though a level in the beginning of the game could be swapped with one later on, and it would go largely unnoticed.

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