Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield is stylish and accessible. While it doesn’t bring anything new to the endless runner genre, the combination of jazz and hip-hop infused beats mixed with neon visuals results in an experience that offers a smooth feel and a decent challenge if you want it.
Similar to others in the genre, you must avoid obstacles using several verbs. This includes a dash, a high jump, a low jump, and a slide, all while never stopping. On lower difficulty levels, players are given a warning and time slows when obstacles approach. The highest difficulty plays more like a typical runner with added obstacles and none of the accessibility features.
“I found the story a bit fuzzy and confusing.”
A short intro and cutscenes in-between levels introduce the futuristic Japanese-infused Detroit and Wally, the hero of the game. He escapes a complex with classified documents. Players spend the rest of their time jumping and sliding through obstacles, avoiding pursuers and a mysterious doppelganger.
Even after two or three playthroughs, I found the story a bit fuzzy and confusing. Smash-cut scenes though attractive, never really revealed much, and without dialogue or written text, the story is difficult to parse through. But given it takes up so little of the game, this did little to distract from Never Yield’s strengths as I ran on rooftops, through busy streets, and into cramped office buildings.
The moment-to-moment gameplay is pure parkour joy when playing through the best of Never Yield’s 13 levels. Although I would not call it a rhythm game, Never Yield can almost feel like one. Jumps and slides coincide with trumpet loops and punchy snares rhythmically as you play along with the beat and melody. Additional acrobatics, like a backflip, and alternate moves, using the dash, spice up your move-set.
“Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield has insane difficulty, adding new obstacles to shake things up.”
It’s in this freedom of movement where Never Yield excels, but I wish it offered more. Some obstacles can be overcome with different moves, and there occasionally were alternate paths and bonus collectibles. However, there wasn’t much I hadn’t seen, collected, or tried by the end of my first playthrough. This puts an unfortunate cap on replayability and how far players can take the game to lower their times for each level.
While I wish the game offered more surprising obstacles and gimmicks, when it does try something new, it succeeds in imaginative ways. In one of the final missions, a helicopter chases you up a building, changing perspectives from horizontal to vertical. This worked perfectly with the Nintendo Switch as I naturally reoriented in portable mode, forcing me to relearn button layouts and adjust without too much frustration. Never Yield‘s conclusion pulls off a similarly clever trick in the final confrontation with Wally’s doppelganger, except this time as an explicit mechanic.
Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield has insane difficulty, adding new obstacles to shake things up. For experienced players, I would recommend jumping into this mode as soon as possible. As the slow-motion in the normal and hard modes slow down the action too much, breaking the flow of the game. But unfortunately, since sections of the game are built around slow-motion, several areas can be a pain to get through, with obstacles appearing with little to no warning.
“Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield is another great pick-up-and-play game for the Nintendo Switch.”
Even when Never Yield’s gameplay falters, its presentation more than fills in the cracks. It also has a magnificent tracklist that had me playing the same levels over and over again, just hear a song one more time. With instrumental pieces, sung and rapped songs, there is a lot of variety in the soundtrack.
Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield’s bold minimalistic neon look and smooth action animations make it a game that is even fun to watch. Although, I do wish it did a bit more with its Japanese fusion of Detroit, as the only things distinctly Japanese in the environments are the Japanese words slapped on everything.
Regardless of its faults, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield‘s memorable soundtrack, and smooth, responsive rhythm-centric gameplay, make it another great pick-up-and-play game for the Nintendo Switch. You can purchase Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield on the Nintendo Switch here.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on Switch. The publisher provided the code.