Releasing later in May, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield first caught my eye from the title alone, with the creator opting to put his name in the title sequence rather than simply naming it “Never Yield.” It puts more emphasis on Aerial_Knight and how passionate he is about his own work, his own vision. It comes across as an artist, much like a painter or a playwright would name their artwork or play respectively. Playing through Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield (And yes I will drop the full title throughout the article, much like “A Tribe Called Quest”) I felt like I was playing through a moving art scene, with the artistic choice and music following suit.
Remember this game was made by someone that the games industry rejected time and time again and never gave me a real opportunity.
— Aerial_Knight (@aerial_knight) April 14, 2021
The game itself is a 3D Runner where the player takes control of Wally, a Black teenager who escapes a facility in a dystopian Neo-Tokyo-esque Detroit. The controls are simple enough as you utilize the D-Pad, with each direction taking a certain action. Up will cause the player to jump while the left direction vaults through and over objects. Down will allow you to slide while keeping a low profile and holding right will begin a dash for as long as the button is held.
Holding the dash button will allow the player to get through stages quickly, but the player has to be mindful of hazards, obstacles, and enemies that will impede Wally’s progress. Each of these obstacles is color-coded, allowing players to quickly adjust to the situation. Obstacles in red will mean Wally will need to jump while yellow obstacles mean he needs to vault. There is more than one way to move past some obstacles, for example, Wally can vault through an obstacle that is preferred to jump over. Otherwise, failing to do so will lead to death, forcing the player to respawn back to a checkpoint.
The gameplay is simple enough, but the visual aesthetic and the music is where the game shines bright, bringing an Enter the Spiderverse vibe. The musical score, consisting of upbeat jazz and funk courtesy of fellow Detroit composer Daniel Wilkins, brings out the energy like poetry in motion. As the player continues to play well throughout the level, the music continues to play, giving the player an incentive to play as flawlessly as possible. Another incentive to play is through the cutscenes played in between levels, usually setting the tone for the upcoming level as well as introducing characters that the protagonist may run into in the future.
Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield will release on the PC, Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation 4 on May 19th with a playable demo currently available across platforms! The Lost Summer recommends thus far!