Neverout Review

House of cubes

To people of a certain age, Cube has nothing to do with Philip Schofield forcing housewives from Berkshire to bounce tennis balls into a cylinder, but everything to do with a cult sci-fi film. Released in 1997 the film had one simple premise: lock a bunch of people in a cube filled with traps and see if they can escape. The big twist? The exit from one cube leads in to another identical looking cube with different traps!

It’s quite amazing that no-one has thought of taking that idea and turning it in to a game before now, but that is exactly what Neverout is. Like the film there is no introduction, just some muffled sounds of a scuffle and you’re dropped in to the first cube to see if you can get to the exit.

The cubes you find yourself can also move. Gravity keeps you down on the floor as you walk around, but if face and walk into one of the walls, the entire cube rotates forward. What was once the wall in front of you becomes the floor.

The first few puzzles involving revolving the cube so that heavy blocks move with the changing direction of gravity, forming platforms that allow you to reach the exit. You do have to be a bit careful as rotating the cube the wrong direction could mean the blocks slide on to your head and kill you, resetting the cube. As you progress the puzzles add new elements such as sticky pads to hold the blocks, electrified pads, and teleporters, so there’s a touch of Portal thrown into the mix as well.

Whereas most puzzle games let you see all the elements at once, because you are inside the puzzle itself Neverout is going to tax your grey cells. You have to think ahead and remember the location of all the puzzle elements, trying to work out what will slide where when you flip the cube. Although you can play the game on the telly, playing with PlayStation VR, Vive or Oculus Rift gives you a significant advantage in that you can easily look around and make sure you’re not about to be squashed by a sliding block of metal. The graphics are clean and simple, and the audio is similarly functional; it works well enough.

However, as a fan of the Cube movie, I’m a little frustrated because with a slightly bigger budget Neverout could be really good. The movie worked because you had multiple characters figuring out what was going. There was a story and later sequels expanded that mythology, but without that, Neverout is a sterile experience. You’re just dumped in the cubes without any incentive to escape other than it’s the only thing to do. The game really could have done with some voiceover work, an unseen antagonist mocking the hapless player when the fail, teasing the reasons why you are locked up.

What’s Good:

  • Simple, easy to learn gameplay
  • VR enhances rather detracts
  • Some challenging puzzles

What’s Bad:

  • Almost no atmosphere whatsoever
  • Some levels can be completed in seconds

Neverout takes a simple premise and packs it into a small package. With just a few hours of playtime, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, but there’s not much variation to the puzzles and it could have done with a story. Puzzle fiends should definitely take a look, especially if they own a VR headset.

Score: 7/10

Version tested: PS4, PSVR
Also available for PC, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Nintendo Switch, Pico

4 Comments

  1. You say it could have been better with a bigger budget while claiming to be a fan of the Cube movie? (It was just called “Cube” btw, not “The Cube”)

    While you’ve obviously got good taste in movies, have you seen the sequels? The first one obviously had a tiny budget, and did something good with it. Wasn’t like every single time a TV show decides to save money by doing a bottle episode and filming the whole episode in 1 room. That almost never turns out well. (Yes, there’s that Breaking Bad episode “Fly”)

    The sequels had a lot more money, got much more complicated, and turned out to be a bit shit.

    I guess I’ll have to add another game to my list of “things to buy when my backlog isn’t giving me evils” though.

    • I’ve fixed Tuff’s film faux pas.

    • Cube 2 is rubbish. Cube 3 is brilliant and arguably better than Cube.

      So yes, yes I have, and you are wrong. So shush.

      • But Cube 3 was actually called Cube 0.

        And sure, you can argue it’s better than Cube. But you’d be wrong :P

        It was just a vague attempt to explain things that didn’t need explaining while thinking it was cleverer than it really was.

        At least we agree the first film was great, and the second was rubbish. And the 3rd (or 0th) was either great or shit, depending on if you’re the sort of person that needs everything explained, even if that explanation makes little sense and is clearly made up afterwards.

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