Neverhood game review
Neverhood is the quintessential PC game almost every 90’s kid remembers playing on their clear back apple PC. The best thing about the game is that its beauty lies in the malformation of the characters. The games trademark window on its own secret (or not so secret, depending how you look at it) world made it ever so tempting to just hop right into it- and that’s what made it so addicting. You always wanted to see what would happen next! But it wasn’t all good. The game’s script was also distracting from the ultimate goal of the game. Some would that that was “keeping you guessing” but when you look at the overall design of the game, and the ultimate draw to the younger player, it doesn’t make much sense. When you’re exploring the games early levels and solving the puzzles- which almost always involved moving or rearranging items, making connections, or mimicking a tune, you’re just having some simple fun. But as things move on, things get harder and harder. Clues are so obscure in the later parts of the game that you’ll almost go mad trying to figure them out. The key is to remember what happened in the earlier parts of the game and remember what you’ve done, but trying to do that become a maddening frustration that puts a nasty edge on the fun you’ve been having up until that point. something that adds to the frustration is the fact that once you pick something up and it goes into your inventory, you can’t see it again until you pick something else up you can use with it- so you never know what you should pick up out of the things you can see because you don’t know what you have that would work with it. Trial and error is one thing, but the game is also shockingly scientific. For example in one part of the game you’re supposed to make the corellation between a beam of light with a series of floating crystals and the colors in the spectrum of visible light- basically, the rainbow.
It’s truly a pity because the game’s funny look and feel appeals mainly to younger players on the surface. The neverhood has everything else going for it- its main character is a totally loveable one dreamed up by Doug Tennapel, its sets were painstakingly modeled especially for the day it was created in, and the cut scenes are beautifully animated and a true joy to watch, with each building on the last, giving the game real continuity. Despite its amazing hero and lovely, well written story the neverhood never really lives up to the promise of its concept.
It was published by DreamWorks interactive, and had some big names involved in its creation including Jerry Katzenber, Stephen Spielberg, and David Geffen. You would be forgiven in expecting widespread accessibility for players young and old, but as with other surprisingly dissapointing works, the plot distracts us from ever reaching total absorption in the fantastic world. The Neverhood would ultimately have benefited from a tighter script.
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