Armor Games Studio and Massive Monster, creators of The Adventure Pals, have taken their platforming background and released Never Give Up on Nintendo Switch, a sequel to the web game Give Up. Like so many other recent platformers, players are faced with highly challenging stages with a visual style that is covered in personality.
Never Give Up has a couple unique features. First is the approach to level design as each stage in each world builds off each other, slowly growing more challenging until the final gauntlet is reached. For example, stage one might feature a tough gap to clear. Stage two is the exact same level only that jump now has saw blades to avoid. Once that stage is beaten, stage three features the same jump but now with spinning saw blades and missiles. Then eventually that gap becomes two gaps, and there are enemies in the way, and tricky wall jumps are required. Each stage is an expansion of the last which makes the difficulty grow with the player. This isn’t an easy game by any means which leads into the next unique feature.
The game understands what it is doing – pushing players to their breaking point. After the player dies a few times, the game provides the option to give up. Giving up allows the player to move to the next set of stages but not without ridicule and consequence. If activated, the give up feature literally has the game make fun of you, basically calling you a total wuss, and leaderboard times are not registered. Being honest, I had trouble clearing the last stage of the first world. After numerous attempts I “gave up” just so I could advance as I was frustrated. But after the game mocked me, I made sure to clear world two no matter the cost just so I wouldn’t be scolded by the game again.
If the game’s blatant bullying wasn’t enough, there are other ways the player is more subtly mocked. With each death, your little stick figure character usually dies in a horrible way, spreading blood everywhere. The thing is, the blood remains on each subsequent attempts, a reminder of your failure. Die in the same spot a few times and that area will be soaked in gore.
Although the tone is humorous and there is a lot of content, the play control isn’t as tight as it could be. While definitely playable, the slightly loose and floaty controls is part of the higher difficulty. It isn’t as accurate as other twitch platformers and still gets the job done, but can’t help wondering if this was done purposely to directly tie into the steep challenge.
If you enjoy punishing platfomers, there is no reason to not enjoy Never Give Up. However, if you have difficulty with the medium challenging stages in Super Mario Maker, then you might want to steer clear of this ever challenging precise platformer. If the challenge doesn’t get you, the game’s way of humorously bullying the player will.
Also available on PC.
Not As Fun As: Exception (Xbox One)
Also Try: Super Mario Maker 2
Wait For It: a sequel to Shio