Looking at the images and video for Neverout you might be reminded of an old B-movie called “Cube”. And there is good reason for that. When asked if they were aware of the movie and if it an inspiration for the game, Lead Developer Michał Wróblewski responded, “Oh yes it was so much.” One of the things that most impressed me about that movie was how the entire thing was shot in the same room and yet it remained interesting all the way through. In the same way, Neverout takes place entirely in rooms that could very well be the same model with swapped panel skins and the occasional ledge or trap to aid in puzzle solving, and yet it also remains interesting.
Unlike that film where there is a group of people trying to escape the cube, in Neverout, you are alone. You are in a room that looks a bit like a padded cell and you can see an exit, but it’s very rarely easy to see how you get there.
Neverout’s key play mechanic is a rotating room. Walk toward a wall and you don’t stop when you hit it. Instead the room rotates and the wall becomes the floor. This rotation happens whether you walk on a wall, a crate, or any other solid object in the room. But you have to be careful because objects that aren’t attached to the wall will fall and if you are under them when they do you’re about the become a lot thinner.
To keep the game from being too easy there is a cage or traps around the exit panel so you can’t just spin the room around an walk over to the exit to escape. Sometimes you will have a series of platroms and ledges that you have to navigate yourself around, other times you will have to use those platforms to catch crates so that you can position them where you need them. Things get really complicated when they bring in teleportation pads, which transport you from one to the other when you touch them, and electromagnet pads that catch the metal crates and lock them into place.
I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced true presence but I absolutely get a sense of place when I play Neverout. The textures look amazing and on numerous occasions I have reached out to steady myself on a wall that doesn’t really exist. After one particularly lengthy playthrough I found myself thinking about what would happen in real world spaces if I were to rotate the room as in the game. I don’t mean just imagining what real life would be like with the power, but rather feeling like I ought to be able to do it. It was definitely a strange feeling and a testament to how lost I was able to get in the game.
Setapp is aware that some people are uncomfortable with the way the room turns and they have assured me that making it comfortable is their number one priority at this point. I have not felt any sickness from the game though very little in VR affects me that way. But when I play standing up, I have almost lost my balance on several occasions (hence the need to steady myself on a wall.) The game is so polished and well made that I have faith they will achieve the goal in time for release.
Setapp hope to release Neverout some time later this month. Check the “Developer” panel to the right for more information about Setapp and for a link to Michał Wróblewski’s Twitter page if you want to keep up to date on news prior to the game’s release.