Review: Aerial_Knight's Never Yield
Reviewed on: Xbox Series X
Endless runners are a bit of hit and miss for me, they have to really change things up constantly to give you that challenge of learning a level to the point where you can complete it flawlessly whilst at the same time not getting bored. Does Aerial_Knight's debut title pull this off, or did I yield and tap out early?
You play as Wally, a guy who has uncovered evidence that can change his city (a futuristic Detroit) forever. The concept to follow this story is simple as many endless runners are. You run through a level from left to right as fast as you can avoiding obstacles along the way and try to reach the end as fast as possible with as little deaths as possible. Nothing ground-breaking but it doesn't need to be.
In terms of gameplay it's as simple as tapping the corresponding directional pad or face button when an obstacle presents itself. I was playing on a Series X and preferred using face buttons so Y was to jump high, X was to hurdle, A was to slide and B was to sprint. You have to press the correct coloured action button matching to the relevant coloured obstacle presenting itself, for example when a desk with stacked chairs on top highlighted blue was in the way you hold A to slide under or when a broken skylight is in the way you press X to hurdle over etc. Simple stuff that obviously gets more challenging as you progress through the levels.
Difficulty-wise the game has three levels, Normal mode where you have slow-mo enabled and are warned of obstacles, Hard mode where your slow-mo is less generous but you still get a warning and Insane mode where you have no slow-mo or warning and the amount of obstacles are doubled. I went through on Normal for my first playthrough and it wasn't that challenging at all and completed the game in around just over an hour, maybe a tad more. The harder difficulties are where you will be pushed as they do get VERY hard. It's just a shame that the game doesn't do much to change things up. The obstacles are very samey and the levels hardly differ much apart. There's a couple of boss battles but they're nothing special either.
Visually, Never Yield is quite pleasing on the eyes. It mixes bright colours with bland colours quite well to bring out vibrancies of the futuristic Detroit city it's trying to represent. Every level is designed well apart from the aforementioned obstacles that do not change up that much. Character design is solid but my main gripe that lets the visual aspects down is the animation during cut scenes could be a lot better.
Finally, the last thing I'd like to touch on is the soundtrack. This games soundtrack is incredible and I'd recommend playing it purely on that merit alone. The funky tunes that go so well and change with each level are pure class. The last level in particular saves the best song for last playing out as the final showdown built up, man, I just didn't want it to end. I had to replay the level just to listen to the song again and again. The soundtrack to the game is apparently coming out this summer so I will be all over that when it does.
Aerial_Knight's Never Yield is one of the better endless runners, it's let down by not much variation in obstacles and not so great animation in cuts scenes but it's gameplay whilst albeit simple, is very decent and works well. I came across no bugs or glitches in my time playing which is impressive. The game is elevated by some very nice looking visuals and an incredible soundtrack and I can see this becoming a staple in the speed-running community with players doing their best to beat the best times, especially on the Insane mode.
I never yielded and I had a fun time with Aerial_Knights output despite my little gripes in places. If you're a fan of endless runners then I'd highly recommend checking this one out, especially when the soundtrack you'll be playing along to is as good as it is.