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Neverinth – Early Access Hands-on Preview

A few weeks back, I covered Neverinth in one of my weekly Early Access highlights, and it gained the most attention out of any game in that article. Unsurprisingly, a lot of our readers are thirsty weebs that really like the idea of a Souls-like game with blue haired anime waifus. Luckily, the folks over at Another Indie sent us a Steam key to try the game out for ourselves.

I must admit that Neverinth is still pretty rough around the edges and doesn’t have a lot of content yet, but it does have the foundations of a pretty fun action roguelite with vaguely Souls-inspired combat. Here’s my first impressions after roughly 4 hours of play.

Neverinth is set in a pseudo-Norse fantasy world, in the aftermath of Ragnarok. Yggdrasill is dying, and the tree of life has summoned the Valkyries in one last ditch effort to clear the monsters infesting the Neverinth.

You play as one such Valkyrie, which in this game comes in the form of a cute anime girl with magic powers and enchanted weapons. The game currently has two Valkyries, each of which have different costumes that can be unlocked as you play. The game is supposed to eventually have five playable characters with different special abilities and item preferences.

While Neverinth may look loosely inspired by a Souls game at first glance, its actually more of an action roguelite. If you die, you’ll have to start over from the beginning, but like in most modern roguelite games there’s some meta progression in the form of totems.

Enemies have a chance to drop runes when you kill them, which can be slotted into skill boards to unlock passive abilities and other unique bonuses. This ensures that you are gaining some power over time that will help make future attempts easier, no matter how bad you are at the game. There will also eventually be shortcuts in the game’s hub area that allow you to skip levels you’ve already completed.

Aside from the totems and runes you have equipped, you’ll always start at level one, with a basic set of weapons and three healing potions. During an adventure, you’ll gather experience points from slain enemies that can be spent at a shrine that usually appears halfway through a level.

These experience points will allow you to level up certain aspects of your character, like increasing damage, max health, defense, and so on. The totems you have equipped could grant the chance of more powerful perks being available at the shrine as well.

You’ll also be upgrading your character with gear and consumables scavenged throughout a level. Bizarrely, Neverinth doesn’t actually have a real inventory system. Instead, you have one slot for each type of armor, your weapon, and a few slots for consumables. If you find a better piece of gear, you just have to drop your current set.

Gear doesn’t just increase or tweak your stats, either. Every time you pick up a new piece of gear, you gain a minor shield that will reduce incoming damage. This creates a system where you may want to pick up a piece of gear that isn’t quite as good as what you currently have to replenish your shield.

The actual combat is what you’d expect from watching the trailers. You have a light and heavy attack, each of which consumes stamina, as well as a dodge. The combat is faster and more floaty than most games in the genre, but still no less deadly and deliberate. You can only take a few hits, even from a basic barbarian, so you’ll need to carefully time your dodges and counterattacks.

You also have a super move that emphasizes the game’s risk vs reward approach to combat. This move increases your damage, but temporarily drains your health. Your health will gradually regenerate to where it was prior to unleashing your super, but due to your smaller health bar during this period, any damage can potentially be devastating.

As I said at the beginning of this preview, Neverinth is pretty limited right now in terms of content. There’s only two levels so far, and there isn’t much in the way of enemy or item variety. Optimization is also pretty rough, so gamers with weaker systems might need to turn the settings down a bit. That said, Neverinth does have a great deal of potential already.

The game looks pretty good in motion, and although the combat and variety is limited, it has the early beginnings of a fun gameplay loop. The developers have recently announced a basic roadmap, and the game is expected to stay in Early Access for over a year.

If you don’t mind playing a game that’s still extremely early in development and want to give Neverinth a try, you can find it on Steam for $15.99.

Frank Streva

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Niche Gamer’s resident indie expert. Digs through the Steam new releases so you don’t have to. Massive fan of miniature and board games as well.