An unusual mix of classic side-scrolling shooter mechanics and twin-stick aiming makes for a thoroughly different experience
I continue to be amazed at how often new indie games take gameplay from genres I know well and love and then either combine them or turn them on their head to do something new and unique. NeverAwake, aside from having a very distinctive visual style, isn’t quite like anything I’ve played before, mixing together classic side-scrolling arcade shooting with twin-stick controls to create something that simply plays differently. While I’ll admit at first I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the experience, a few stages in I was pretty well fully on board, ready to see what the game would throw at me. In many ways I think it’s that element of uncertainty and surprise that I found most refreshing here, because by now I have firmly-entrenched expectations for a side-scrolling arcade shooter, but with its control style and approach NeverAwake did a pretty good job of taking me by surprise and giving me enough challenges to make me work to progress while never really being cruel either. While I think folks who aren’t normally into shooters would be completely overwhelmed by this, if you’re a genre fan who feels like they’ve seen it all, NeverAwake is a great shot in the arm to tell you otherwise.
Justin Nation, Score: