Release Date: September 17, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Yea, there’s always going to be big releases each month, but sometimes you want to put some time into some of the more obscure games. Nevaeh is not a game that I had heard before it was released, but developer Alpheratz has created a charming puzzle platformer with Nevaeh. Through its monochrome visuals and dark themes, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, but it isn’t incredibly bright.
Nevaeh’s story isn’t told through any type of real narration. Instead, players attempt to piece together what is going on through a few voiceless protagonists and one of the strangest openings ever. After a few hours, I still didn’t really know what was going on, but luckily the Steam page told me everything I needed to know. Yes, this is an oversight by the developer because I felt disconnected from the adventure. It was as if I was just completing puzzles and defeating bosses with no real purpose or goal.
Evidently, there’s this town that is kept safe from the darkness by light. However, the light is going out, which is summoning monsters. The main protagonist is a girl without a name who takes up the responsibility of relighting the lights with the help of this butterfly…you know what forget the story; it’s not a big part of the game.
Players take control of the girl and must explore this tower, which requires getting through many puzzles and defeating several bosses. The puzzles are great, but they aren’t challenging. They won’t leave stump looking at the screen for hours, but I can compare more to comfort food for this genre. There’s some variety when it comes to lighting the lamps and interacting with the environments, which makes the adventure never too repetitive. There seems to always be some new gimmick thrown in to make the puzzles more engaging.
Puzzles have players using this butterfly thing to relight lamps, which affect the environment in different ways. The light can cause enemies to disappear or trigger a lift to reach a new area. It works, and the more I played, the better I got at multitasking with the lights and environmental hazards, which was pretty fun.
I ended up not liking most of the boss fights because even though they are different, they are each completed in the same ways of using blades against them. It just made the encounters too predictable, and given that I had no attachment to these bosses and barely even knew who they were, the encounters were anti-climatic and only served as a means to get me on to the next set of puzzles.
The design of Nevaeh is pretty unique, where the characters resemble manga page cut-outs against castle-themed environments. The theme of the environments stays more or less the same, but the additional gimmicks make each area stand out.
What immediately grabbed my attention was the game’s soundtrack, which didn’t always fit the theme of what was going on, but it sure was fun to listen to. There are a few tracks that were just a few quick loops of some catchy beats, but it gave the entire experience a rheumatic feel to it.
Nevaeh is a fast and fun puzzle platformer that doesn’t bite off more than it can chew. However, its lack of direction makes the adventure feel soulless. Nothing challenges the player, not even the boss encounters, making this more of a comfortable and cute indie puzzle experience to play in short bursts.
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