Aerial_Knight's Never Yield is Neil Jones' (aka "Aerial_Knight") dream game, and we totally respect that. After all, it's not easy to develop a game for multiple platforms, let alone to create that something you need but doesn't exist yet. Unfortunately, we have mixed feelings about this game; we love the soundtrack and all artistic choices... but we can't forget this is a video game, so we want it to be engaging and fun, which—at least for us—isn't.
We're Here for the Music and Visuals
Aerial_Knight's Never Yield is a game that easily catches your attention, and you only need to watch a few seconds of the trailer to understand why. The game features one of the coolest soundtracks for an indie title, with funky drum & bass beats and occasional vocals and other instruments rounding up the songs. Since there are almost no dialogues or distracting sound effects, the soundtrack is what stands out the most, so much so that getting to the end of a stage is more about unlocking another bop than it is about actually moving the story forward.
The other aspect we love about Aerial_Knight's Never Yield is how aesthetically pleasing it is. We're not talking about next-gen graphics or extremely detailed backgrounds, but you can see that Aerial_Knight really has a thing for anime and Japanese culture, high contrast, and the use of lightning and other visual effects. All that combined gives us a fresh art style that's way more than other games in the running genre have to offer, but even in the whole gaming specter, there aren't that many titles that look this good.
Boringly Repetitive Gameplay and a Confusing Story
Although it looks and sounds amazing, there's a big problem with Aerial_Knight's Never Yield: it's not so fun to play. Okay, we know auto-running games are always a hard pill to swallow, but this is not a mobile game so it shouldn't be considered as just another auto-running indie project. This should be something fun and worthy of your time—and money—and in fact, one of Aerial_Knight's goals was to attract new players to this often neglected genre.
Aerial_Knight's Never Yield's mechanics are simple: you have 4 directional buttons, and that's how you help the protagonist overcome all the obstacles that will appear on his way. We're not gonna lie to you: this game was fun for the first 2 or 3 levels, but unfortunately, it gets too repetitive, so unless you reeeeeaaaally like auto-runners, it won't be hard to find better things to do with your time. What's worse, this game sucks at telling a story—sure, all these cutscenes look great and all, but most players don't even know what's happening, so this is not just us not paying attention.
Sorry, We'll Have to Yield
It's encouraging to see someone's dream come true, especially if we're talking about video games, but this is obviously not our cup of tea. Aerial_Knigh's Never Yield is a glorified casual mobile game with shallow, monotonous gameplay and little to no reason to play it other than its music and colorful art style. On top of it all, its confusing story makes it hard to fall in love with Aerial_Knight's Never Yield, reinforcing the game's dullness. We admit it's an ambitious project, but maybe too ambitious for its own good.
If you like indie auto-running games, then please try Aerial_Knight's Never Yield; maybe it's your dream game too! Sadly, we didn't enjoy it as much as we were expecting to, but that doesn't mean we can't recognize how much effort Aerial_Knight put into it.
Aerial_Knight's Never Yield is already available on PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One.