Neverinth (CreAct Games)
It’s not often that we see indie developers take a stab at the “Soulsborne” series, but that is exactly what CreAct Games is attempting with Neverinth. The game, which is currently in Early Access on Steam, challenges players to explore the ever-changing halls of the Neverinth and uncover the history of the Valkyrie. The most recent update to the game added a brand new Valkyrie, the katana wielding Proud Aspirant, who is the third out of a promised five playable characters in Neverinth.
Technically the characters you play in Neverinth are not yet fully fledged Valkyries. They are actually hinstory’s strongest women, who have been summoned to the Neverinth by Yggdrasill, the tree of life, after the gods were killed. If these women manage to survive the trial ahead of them in Neverinth they will be able to earn the sacred title of Valkyrie, but this is not going to be an easy feat.
Neverinth is filled with the beats and monsters of Norse legend and any one of them are capable of ending your life if you are not careful. Although the game includes hack ‘n slash elements, it also draws inspiration from the roguelike genre, so if you rush in you will quickly learn a lesson in humility. Since the game is still in Early Access, there are obviously still some rough edges, but what CreAct Games have accomplished so far is certainly impressive.
Combat in Neverinth is punishing, but also very rewarding once you wrap your head around the system. It is a little overwhelming at first as each character has a life bar and a stamina bar, which you need to watch closely. Performing light-, and heavy attacks as well as dodging, dashing or weapon skills all depletes your stamina bar and if it is empty you are a sitting duck. This means button bashing is not going to get you very far and instead you need to learn the attack patterns of your enemies and how to counter them in the most efficient way. It also means that if you are ever surrounded by a group of enemies, then you are in for a world of hurt, so it is better to take your time and draw out your foes one by one. There were numerous times where we got overconfident and were quickly cut down by foes who were hiding around corners or behind obstacles, so do not underestimate your enemies in Neverinth. The same goes for the bosses in the game as they put up a serious fight and can quickly end your run if you are not careful.
Neverinth is punishing, but it is also addictive and each attempt saw us getting further into the game. Death means having to start over, but your previous efforts are rarely in vain as the achievements you earn can unlock new items to make future attempts a little easier. Along with the different types of weapons you can find, the labyrinth is also filled with other gear and loot that are worth seeking out. Neverinth also features a “Totem” mechanic, where your stats can be boosted by equipping Totems. However, you will first have to complete these Totems with crystal blocks that can only be found in the labyrinth. It’s an interesting mechanic and you have control over what types of blocks to use to complete a Totem. Completed Totems also unlocks new outfits for the girls in the game. In-dungeon you are rewarded with “essence” for killing enemies, which can then be used to buy items or level up. However, it resets after each run, so make the most of your essence instead of trying to hoard it.
Neverinth is far from complete, but even in its current state, it is clear to see that it is shaping up to be a great game. The developers are clearly passionate about the project and they are also actively listening to feedback from the community. The 0.2.16 update not only added a brand new character and weapon type, but also a slew of other fixes and adjustments, such as customized control settings and key bindings, Totem tutorial, Japanese localization, and much more.
Neverinth is set to have an early access period of approximately 12-18 months, depending on user feedback, so the developers are clearly committed to adding a lot more to the game. Even in this early stage, it is already very addictive and it is great to see that the developers are taking player feedback seriously to improve the game. We will definitely be keeping an eye on this title and recommend that anyone who enjoys the genre does the same.