Never Gone developers; Hippie Game, are an experienced collection of players, designers and coders coming together to create games they love, in this case old-school, hardcore action arcade titles. I’m a big fan of the classic side scrolling beat-em-up style games, especially the likes of Final Fight, which Never Gone feels very similar to. Similar in cozy way, it’s not just a case of copying.
Format: iOS (8.0 or above)
Price: £2.29 normally
Languages: English, French & German
Never Gone is spread over three different chapters with another three different challenge modes to tackle as well.The three main chapter modes are set within a Gothic inspired world where you’ll learn that demons, humans and vampires are waging war against one another, each trying to wrestle control from the other. You’ll make the decision to play as either a Blood Knight or Dark Sister ready to face the challenge of restoring balance back to the game world.
Never Gone has some mild RPG elements added to the mix (but, which game doesn’t now-a-days?), including the ability to create and upgrade over 200 pieces or equipment and weaponry with the added feature of upgrading and tweaking your own characters’ skills. The whole experience of powering up and customising your chosen character is fun and enjoyable, unlike other similar titles, where the added RPG elements can actually distract from the game or just become a chore.
When it comes down to the gameplay itself, the frame-rate remains consistently smooth throughout and the combo system is deeper than you might have first expected. The chapter mode is fairly standard in design, you’ll work your way through short levels with arena style areas, where you’ll come face to face with a mob of enemies ready for the slaughter. Once you’ve progressed through a handful of these levels, you’ll be pitted against a bigger, more menacing end level boss. And this is my friends, is where you need to be prepared. Never Gone is a game that demands the highest skill level from each player. You’ll grind levels to make sure you’ve the best equipment possible, stashed away a collection of potions to rival any good apothecaries, and carefully place each of your skill points, maximising damage output whilst balancing available hit points.
This is also where I started to question Never Gone. Past a certain point in the game, I couldn’t help but feel pointed towards the games in-app currency to give me the MUCH needed boost to complete latter stages. This seems to be no matter how good you’ve become or the stats of your equipment. I started to feel a little like this earlier in the game, but as I progressed further, the feeling became stronger and stronger.
The game utilises an intuitive on-screen setup of virtual buttons, but if you are looking to master the combo system, you’ll be happy to know that Never Gone is also 100% compatible with the MFi iPhone and iPad Gamevice controllers.
The music is as you’d want and expect for a game like Never Gone. The soundtrack is provided courtesy of Therion, a well-known Swedish rock band. If you do happen to be a fan of Therion, then you’ll be equally excited to know that during gameplay, some of the members of the group will appear as allies to fight alongside, or enemies to tackle and defeat.
Never Gone is quite clearly based on a free-to-play model mixed with a very small upfront cost providing the player with unlimited lives. Yes, there are some issues with how I felt I was sometimes being pushed to purchase in-app currency; further let down by the fact Hippie Game is a studio attempting to differentiate itself from others, by trying to stay clear of the “money driven and innovation-less gaming industry”. Yet the game provides more than just a few hours of entertainment. You can, if you invest time and energy into it, grind levels over and over to achieve the same result as spending money, but you can do that with most F2P games, so I’m not drawing too much away from the experience. It is however, most definitely one of the better side scrolling beat-em-up style games I’ve played on any mobile device.
This review was originally written by Kris Wingfield-Bennett, ANDi’s Lead Marketer, for his personal website. The review has been republished here with the express permission of PR Hound, who provided the original review code.