NeverAwake Review thumbnail

NeverAwake Review

It'll make you not want to sleep

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS5 on 💤

NeverAwake is also available for PS4 and Nintendo Switch

NeverAwake is rated Teen by the ESRB

Here's a game that'll give your thumbs a real workout; it's the stylish, challenging, and fast-paced twin-stick shoot 'em up NeverAwake.

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NeverAwake screenshot 1
This is why you should never eat your vegetables

What is NeverAwake?

NeverAwake has you play as a comatose girl who's fighting off her innermost fears that manifest in ghoulish creatures. Considering she's scared of vegetables, dogs, social interaction with her school chums, and hospitals; the sorts of enemies that you face are modeled after such things within the themed environments that each contain 10 stages including a few boss fights. This is a very clever premise for a game and on top of that, the gameplay is adaptive as to allow anyone to enjoy it no matter how many times you have to retry. 😊 v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154

A beautiful nightmare

One aspect that makes NeverAwake's clever premise shine beautifully is its striking presentation complete with stylish visuals, devilishly-animated enemies, and neon shot effects that'll get burned in your retinas. Speaking of enemies, they're quite ugly but in a nightmarish way that fits the story perfectly and the fact that they're 2D sprites while you control a 3D avatar makes for a wonderful contrast. Plus, the ambient music of the menus blends well with the upbeat tunes when you're shooting and the effects are subdued enough to remain satisfying while not becoming annoying. I also like little audio embellishments such as how the dogs bark quietly. 🐶

NeverAwake screenshot 2
I hope nothing comes crashing down on me when I'm shooting these potatoes

Twin-stick action

NeverAwake is one of those rare hybrids of a typical scrolling shoot 'em up and a twin-stick shooter which reminds me of the classic Gley Lancer as well as a modern example of the genre, REMOTE LIFE. This combo creates a formula that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you never know where the enemies will spawn next and trying to avoid projectiles from all directions as you carefully aim your shots provides top-notch frantic fun. The only other controls allow you to dash out of harm's way as well as utilize a special weapon. This might be simple and easy to understand but the difficulty certainly ramps up, especially halfway through the campaign. 😅

Upgrades and unlockables

As you play NeverAwake, you'll amass currency that you can spend on special weapons and accessories as well as temporary boosts to your capabilities for a one-time fee if you're struggling in any particular level. The weapons and accessories unlock in the shop in a seemingly random fashion but they appear to become available when you fail a certain amount of times or finish specific levels. Anyway, changing up your special weapon regularly is fun and optimizing your loadout of accessories to fit your play style is gratifying stuff for sure. You'll also unlock an album and diary entries as you play through the stages while following particular conditions. There's a lot to do! 🥇

Some frustrations

Although I absolutely love NeverAwake, it does have its annoying moments. For one, certain levels play oddly and will likely require multiple attempts as you figure them out. You see; a stage is completed when you collect a certain amount of souls and it loops and becomes more difficult if you don't collect enough. However, some stages only have souls spawn from certain enemies which can be confusing. Also, the scrolling can often be unpredictable and may catch you off guard. Similarly, some of the bosses are way too aggressive and made me quite frustrated such as one that relentlessly attacks with unclearable projectiles that stay onscreen for way too long. I wish that these moments were balanced to feel more in-line with the rest of the campaign as they can be disheartening. 💔

NeverAwake screenshot 3
Mel isn't as cute as it thinks it is

I absolutely loved my time with NeverAwake so if you enjoy twin-stick shooters and are looking for a new challenge then I highly recommend it. Plus, the fact that it's as visually stunning and pleasing to the ears as it is makes it even more worthwhile.

  • + Challenging yet doable twin-stick action with plenty of great stages
  • + Striking visuals and superb sound
  • + Loads of extras and unlockables
  • - Some levels will require multiple attempts to simply figure out what to do
  • - Certain bosses are too aggressive
8.3 out of 10
Gameplay video for NeverAwake thumbnail
Watch A.J. play NeverAwake
Capcom Shoot 'em Ups Trivia

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