I will simply never be as cool as Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield. The current demo that’s appeared as part of the Steam Game Festival isn’t so much oozing with style as it’s been plunged head-first into a vat of style and been turned Joker-like into the grinning embodiment of it. An endless runner, with a penchant for the sounds of Detroit, it offers the kind of glorious musical gameplay that flows ever onwards towards gaming nirvana. Based on this demo, it might just get there.
If we’re going to talk about Never Yield, we need to talk about the music. The work of Detroit artist Danime-Sama, the groove-laden tones go heavy on the driving bass lines and authentic saxophone while the track builds through the opening level with funky electric guitar licks to a crescendo that fits Never Yield’s future-thriller heist setting like a fitted glove.
You’re playing as Wally, a mysterious kid with a mechanical prosthetic leg and glowing eyes who’s seemingly uncovered vital information that could change the path of futuristic Detroit forever. You’re on the run, so it seems as though whoever, or whatever, you’re wrapped up in, isn’t so keen on you getting away with it. Along with the regular obstacles the game asks you to parkour your way past, there’s mechanical sentries, gun-toting agents and vans intent on ramming you out of the picture, so never mind never yielding; you can never rest either.
As an endless runner, you attempt to keep Wally moving by avoiding whatever’s put in your way. There’s a beautifully straightforward controls for you to use, playing out on the WASD keys and leaving you a hand free to thump along on your desk in time with the music. Your four actions include a mid-range leap, handy for a pile of boxes or the odd piece of pipework, a super-powered jump to take you over fences and onto raised sections, an Apex Legends-aping slide and then a sprint to get you out of imminent danger.
You don’t need anything else, with Never Yield clearly a game that’s all about speed-runs, and trying to make it through without a single death. While I’m not often the kind of person who’s able to turn down ‘one more go’, the fact that Never Yield asks ‘do you yield?’ when you fail makes it liable to raise the hackles of any competitive soul. Prepare for the release to prelude a host of tired streamers, eye-lids full of matchsticks, as they simply can’t take the psychological punishment of giving in.
There’s a touch of Simogo’s sublime Sayonara Wild Hearts at work here, both visually and with the integral nature of the music. With the promise of Danime-Sama turning to a host of black vocalists for the soundtrack I am completely here for whatever the full game might bring, and it feels as though this might just strike that same interactive album balance between action and audio.
As the first demo I came across in this year’s festival, I can’t recommend highly enough that you check out what Aerial_Knight is building here. Intoxicating and inviting, if this demo has been dunked in the essence of style, prepare for the full game to be submerged in it.
Aerial Knight’s Never Yield demo is available now as part of the Steam Demo Festival.