I’m a pretty big fan of hardcore platformers like Celeste and Super Meat Boy. These games thrive under the premise of creating a monumental challenge for their players, which in turn creates a sense of accomplishment once you overcome your struggles. One of the newest games in this field is Massive Monster’s Never Give Up.
A twisted death maze
Never Give Up takes the platforming of Super Meat Boy and throws an interesting twist on it. Each level consists of 5-7 stages, the first of which is often relatively straightforward. With each subsequent completion, however, the scene morphs, becoming longer and more difficult.
Though these types of games are known for their difficulty, Never Give Up is pretty generous in making the game more accessible to difficulty-averse players. If at any time during a stage you die a cumulative ten times, you’re allowed to give up. In exchange for being able to advance to the next set of levels, though, you’re subjected to a brief roast. This feature enables you to beat the game, even if you skip all the levels. This mechanic doesn’t apply to boss battles though, so you’ll still have to play somewhat. Other accessibility options include infinite jumping, as well as quality of life controls such as turning off rumble or screen shaking.
If you play on Easy, the stages also have checkpoints. These were particularly helpful, though there are some situations, such as boss fights, where I feel they could have put a few more in. Of course, if challenges are more your style, the game features two other difficulties: hard (which removes checkpoints altogether) and permadeath, in which dying even once sends you back to a new game.
An extra challenge
Even after you finish the game, there’s still a good bit to do. Collectibles litter the levels, providing one form of extra challenge. Collecting enough coins unlocks new costumes you can use to customize your character. Another challenge comes in the form of a race against the clock, so if you’re looking to prove your skills, this is a great way to do so.
Outside of gameplay, Never Give Up presents itself well. The game looks and sounds great, especially with Arin Hanson (better known as Egoraptor) of Game Grumps fame lending his voice to your character. There’s a good bit of humor to be found as well, though certain areas could have seen some improvement too. For instance, when every level has a subtitle which reads “witty subtitle,” you can’t help but think that something more could’ve been done here.
Will you give up?
All in all, Never Give Up is a fun, unique take on the platformer genre. The game is challenging, but rarely overly so. Even so, you can mitigate or remove this challenge entirely by taking advantage of the ability to skip levels. There’s also some humor to be had, courtesy of Egoraptor’s dialogue, though chances are you’ll die enough to begin to grow tired of it. Nevertheless, if you fancy a challenge, Never Give Up will go a long way to sating your appetite.