Never Give Up is a title that encompasses a host of different thoughts, feelings, and emotions from the moment you step into the game, to the moment that you inevitably put it down as you cry uncontrollably. Developed by Massive Monster and published by Armor Games Studio, the sequel to the popular side-scroller Give Up has casually crept its way onto Steam and the Nintendo Switch, but is this parkour death-a-thon worthy of its high praise? Welcome to our Never Give Up review!
Not Your Mom’s Platformer
As far back as the original Mario Bros, retro side-scrolling platformers have never been exceptionally forgiving. We know that lava hurts, spikes are instant death, and that you absolutely should NOT touch fire, under any circumstances. In Never Give Up, Massive Monster wants to know how much punishment you’re willing to endure before pressing the merciful Give Up button that will give you the ability to bypass the level that undoubtedly has left you rocking back and forth in the fetal position in a dark corner somewhere. For the most part, Never Give Up makes light of every death, and throws humor at you throughout each level as you get heckled through strategically placed speakers.
Most levels are fairly linear in form but become more hazardous as you progress. The basic level structure begins with a standard set of obstacles, and with each completion of the level, new, crazier obstacles are added. Our hero, unfortunately, cannot and will not withstand any damage at all. Whether he’s being hit by a rocket, grazed by a buzz saw, or even if he falls in a small pool of water it all ends in certain death. Luckily, you can begin from your last checkpoint and try again with nothing more than a penalty on the amount of time it takes you to finish. Learning the levels are insanely important for success. Repetition will be your greatest weapon here, and at times I even surprised myself at how smoothly I navigated the obstacles.
Hey You, You Can’t Just Stand There!
Once you get the hang of moving about, you are then charged with being a little more creative in your approach to the world. In each level, coins are placed in particularly tough areas for you obtain, if you dare, and these coins will eventually unlock new costumes that are as fun as they are ridiculous. There are also additional gameplay modes for the super masochistic, such as hard mode, which has zero checkpoints throughout each stage, and permadeath, where your character will not come back. These modes are certainly there for players looking to challenge themselves, or players that really hate themselves.
In several stages, even with checkpoints, I found myself simply dying by standing solemnly at a checkpoint, not moving. Blessed be the game that can kill you when you aren’t even doing anything. Despite the many multiples of deaths, every player will endure, and the bosses that will test your patience beyond belief, Never Give Up does provide ample amounts of entertainment, even if you do nothing by launch yourself into a pool of acid 50 times in one run. The game is challenging but provides an easy out for players who want to keep playing and trying new levels, even if they get stuck at some point and cant complete a previous one. With plenty of pop culture one-liner deaths to keep anyone entertained, retro platformer fans looking for something on the upper end of the challenge spectrum should look no further, Never Give Up will keep you quite busy.
PR provided a Switch code for the purpose of review.