NeverAwake – PlayStation 5 –

Nightmares of memories.

Shoot’em up was one of the first genres to appear in the gaming world, with a simple but effective concept to attract a large audience. Its success spawned other subgenres with their own characteristics, one of which is known today as bullet hell. NeverAwake’s narrative is structurally simple, but not at all conventional. The beginning tells us about a young hero who for some reason is currently in a coma in a hospital, having nightmares and losing his memories. The game continues with clips of events in the girl’s life, with scattered parts of her diary that can be unlocked and read. It is not the distortions or the events themselves that are effective in the writing, but the intimacy and palpable themes of the different sequences. We’d like to not spoil the surprise in this regard, but know that this is really neat work. Enjoy the details, the world-building, to better appreciate the overall characterization of the context. Unfortunately, although the work lacks a sophisticated vocabulary, there is no written translation outside of English, Japanese, and Chinese.

Storytelling is not the only strong point, as the gameplay is no less. The developers of Neotro Inc. decided to create a unique and at the same time familiar experience with NeverAwake: the game at first glance looks like an ordinary bullet hell that respects all the typical rules of the subgenre, a screen full of enemies and bullets, multiple guns with infinite ammunition and an automatic sliding camera. However, at the same time, it takes its own path as the player is not required to destroy all enemies, reach a certain score or complete a stage. In fact, the required goal is different: to collect small but important crystals to reach a certain 100.0% in each section. This choice of game design makes the player consider each level unlike other representatives of the genre in a continuous series of ideas revolving around a simple but ingenious game engine. It is also facilitated by the short duration of each step, which can be completed in less than five minutes. It’s an element that strongly demonstrates the arcade nature of the whole experience, adding to the replayability for those looking to increase their scores or increase their time. Longevity is good, thanks to a secondary mode that can be unlocked after the first part of the game is over.

Good experience.

The importance of level design, a key element to the entire product concept, should not be underestimated. The developers are constantly creating a certain interest by using background elements and new obstacles. NeverAwake manages to tie the game’s universe into the game by creating additional narrative context within the game’s stages, a feat that demonstrates full use of this interactive environment, something that is very difficult for studios and products of all kinds to achieve. . In terms of gameplay, NeverAwake is fun to play: Character control is simple and intuitive, with no distracting input lag. In this sense, it is very convenient to fight and dodge enemies in the game world with a movement that is both fast and understandable to the human eye. One word is obviously to go to the boss battles, which are one of the many merits of this work. They all have unique dynamics in a challenge where the objective is never immediately clear and the player must think through the pattern of attacks and possible weak points. An additional element that confirms the special care given to every aspect of the game. NeverAwake has another advantage in terms of customization allowed to the player: during the game, it is possible to unlock a number of upgrades for the little hero, which can increase. number of available lives, crystal collection range, dash immunity and other similar features. There are also special weapons that can be unlocked and upgraded to become even more deadly.

All this is possible thanks to the in-game currency, the previously mentioned small crystals. Interestingly, it is almost impossible to run out of them, since the cost of upgrades is small compared to what the player earns. A small flaw that causes this small RPG effect is insignificant. Another aid that helps simplify things for the player, in addition to the messages that appear after death, is related to the overload action, which can be used from the endgame menu and allows the player to return to the level with more attack power. and lives longer than normal. NeverAwake’s artistic side is certainly enviable. The game is like a motion picture in the design of the worlds, monsters and designs that appear in the main story elements. A completely distorted style that perfectly reflects the emotions and insecurities of the young hero, so that it strongly captures the player’s attention and interest. Our testing went smoothly without any bugs or glitches, which should put most viewers at ease when it comes to the technical aspect. Of course, as we said, the balance between difficulty and in-game gains should be reconsidered. Finally, the soundtrack blends perfectly with the action on screen without really outdoing itself. In a way, all the titles are repeated within the levels, a small flaw that does not detract from the overall production quality.


NeverAwake is not only made with artistic talent and extreme passion, but it is also a lot of fun thanks to its bullet hell-like gameplay that is suitable for all audiences. We definitely recommend trying the product to directly fight your own fears and insecurities.

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