From time to time a mobile game sneaks up to this website. This time it’s ‘Never Gone’, a hack ‘n slay game with a dark and mysterious atmosphere. Walking from left to right while fighting waves of enemies is nothing new, so how good is ‘Never Gone’?
The controls are easy to learn. As usual on the left side of the screen you control your movement, not only left and right but also up and down. It’s 2D, but you can move in all four directions. On the right you have a key for blocking, attacking and jumping. First, you keep smashing the attack-button like a maniac. After a short while you find out that you can attack enemies in the air and smash them back to the ground. Sadly, that’s almost all the attacks you have. There are a few more like sword-throwing, but basically it’s placing yourself in front of an enemy and destroy the attack-button. I don’t want to criticise this too much, because for a mobile game it’s enough moves and the fighting looks cool.
‘Never Gone’ follows the basics. Like many other fighting games you have your levels with a boss every now and then, and after that you go back to your home for upgrading and talking to people. Here we have a small village, where we can craft and buy new weapons and potions, unlock special levels or put magic gems into our weapons. Again, something you have seen before but probably essential for such a game and everything works and looks good so no complaining here.
While fighting through the first levels and visiting my village I realized that I really liked the design. The dark tone and mysterious atmosphere. And the amount of detail was something I really liked. The backgrounds and the characters looked like it took a lot of creation time. The smooth coat animations of my character really helped me looking like a badass. Fighting animations as well.
After some fighting and upgrading I made it to the first boss level and the end of the first out of three chapters. I failed hilariously of course, this game is about getting the right equipment. So I started getting the good weapons and found the game’s biggest downside. I spend over an hour farming for stuff I needed for another weapon and even after that I was too weak to fight this boss. And playing a level with no randomness and almost no variation for literally a dozens times in a row is very frustrating. Even when I upgraded my weapon and couldn’t continue I had no other item to get. The only thing I could do is level up about 20 levels, the was no other chance I could improve my stats.
The other thing almost made me chew on my tablet is an issue in the controls: my character has problems with directions. Sometimes I attacked into the other direction but that wasn’t that bad. But dodging into the other direction is not ok. Even if it took a lot of time, I could have defeated that boss, but my character always dodged into the wrong direction and got hit. I am not a mobile gamer but I played fighting games on a tablet and experienced smoother controls in other games. Games like Dark Souls are pretty difficult, but when you fail you know it’s your fault. When you fail because the controls don’t you what you want, it’s not difficult but unfair.
‘Never Gone’ is a solid fighting game. You pay for everything and don’t have to buy additional content, which is nice. And I really liked the first minutes of playing. Then the farming made it boring and the controls frustrating. Both things, that can be changed. Smoother controls and more options for improving your character, then I would keep enjoying this game like I did in the first hour.