Very challenging adventure game with positive message.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Neversong is an action/adventure game for Apple Arcade that takes place in a dreamlike world. The game, which was known as "Once Upon a Coma" until just before its release, tells the story of a boy who comes out of a coma to find his girlfriend has been kidnapped by a supernatural creature. Even worse, all of the parents in town have disappeared or turned into monsters. The game's heavy on puzzle solving and offers no hints, which could frustrate younger players. But there's very little content that could be objectionable.
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What’s It About?
In NEVERSONG, players take on the role of Peet, a boy who comes out of a coma to find his girlfriend has been kidnapped and the grownups in town have turned into monsters or disappeared. Peet struggles to uncover his past via a series of puzzles and battles against these demons. The game challenges players to learn the game mechanics as they go -- and what they need to do next to proceed in the story. Armed with a baseball bat and occasional other tools, you'll walk, jump and swing your way through the world, smashing spiders and other smaller enemies to regain health and facing off against more menacing enemies (the parents-turned-monsters).
Is It Any Good?
There's something haunting about this adventure that draws you in, even if elements of its gameplay are very frustrating. Neversong's dreamlike world and ethereal music makes you really want to like it. At the same time, the game's complete lack of direction and instruction, along with puzzles that don't always follow logical paths, might drive you absolutely bonkers. Fortunately, it's message, if nothing else, is terrific. Inspired by the developer's near-death experience when he was a child, it seeks to show that everyone's valuable and loved.
Neversong is filled with creepy monsters, enjoyable side characters, and challenging battles and puzzles. But the controls aren't ideally suited to a touchscreen, though. Repeatedly trying to swipe upward to jump or swing Peet's bat above his head would untintentionally threaten to close the app -- or at least kick it to the 'continue?' screen. But the story's engaging enough that you still want to move forward. There's no particularly offensive content, but certain portions (such as when a mother-turned-monster eats her son) could be a bit too intense for younger players. And there's an emotional death that might affect younger players as well. But once you get the hang of things, Neversong is actually a fun game. The problem is: You might want to give up in frustration before you reach that point.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about comas. Do you think people dream while in them? Or are they just unconscious?
How can music make a game much more spooky when it's paired with what's happening on screen? Would you have the same feeling or emotional response if the game was silent?
- Platforms: Apple Arcade, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Pricing structure: Free (Game is part of Apple Arcade, a Netflix-like service for games.)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Serenity Forge LLC
- Release date: May 3, 2020
- Genre: Adventure
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: January 13, 2022
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