Previously released for PC-based headsets (and Gear VR) as well as the Nintendo Switch in a non-VR version, Neverout finally finds its way to the Playstation 4. Available both in non-VR mode (running at 4K) and in Playstation VR, we tested the game with our headset firmly placed on our heads.
Somewhat of a nice hit upon its initial release, Neverout is an “escape the room” kind of puzzle game in the same vein as the 1997 mystery/sci-fi/horror movie Cube. You wake up inside a cube and need to escape by figuring out its puzzles – a formula later improved upon by the Saw movies when Cube’s sequels failed to impress.
Although Neverout features a similar premise to Cube, it doesn’t develop as a narrative experience, which is a bit of a shame as it would have benefited from having a plot of some kind. If you look at recent titles like Q.U.B.E. 2, it’s easy to see how Neverout would have been better with even a subtle narrative to drive you forward – though it also works as a pure puzzle game.
One thing you won’t have to worry about in Neverout is gravity – at least to the point where things on the walls and ceiling feel out of reach. When you walk up to a wall (in incremental steps) the room rotates and you find yourself walking up that same wall – which is now the floor. It’s a mechanic you soon learn how to use in terms of getting to a certain spot by dropping down a ledge which was actually right above you a minute ago.
Neverout’s well-designed puzzles (there are 60 of them) gradually introduce you to new gameplay elements, which include spikes and obstacles as well moving elements and teleportation pads. The most immersive way of interacting with the game is by using a Move controller, which works well due to its use of incremental steps to walk rather than smooth locomotion. I normally prefer to move freely in a VR title, but in a puzzle game like this it would probably allow for too many opportunity where you’re positioned slightly wrong or get off track because of it.
Audiovisually, Neverout wears its Gear VR origins on its sleeve. It’s definitely not one of the better looking VR titles out there (with a ton of gray tiles) and the audio isn’t as rich as it could have been (see my earlier comment about a narrative experience – Statik’s another puzzle game that makes clever use of this). Luckily, the people at Gamedust have priced Neverout accordingly, making it a very budget-friendly VR title – something that’s still a bit of a rarity.
Without that extra layer of audiovisual polish or an engaging narrative to push you forward, Neverout is a no-frills puzzler that works very well in VR thanks to its shifting perspectives and how it plays with gravity. Fans of physics-based puzzlers should therefore not hesitate to pick up this nice little indie puzzler from a team that will hopefully go on to do bigger and bolder things on Playstation VR!