Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield Demo Impressions — A blend of modern and retro free running acid jazz trip

Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase is a short and sweet lineup of refreshing indie games making their way to Nintendo Switch. While I was excited for a few games, Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield caught my attention with both the re-envisioning of Detroit with a Neo-Tokyo style aesthetic to the tune of Daniel Wilkins’ dope acid jazz funk. The sound is a love child between Yoko Kanno and Shoji Meguro’s tunes if Lupin III becomes a playable Persona 3 character.

In this free running platformer, it reminds me a lot of Pitfall with those moving levels from Super Mario 3 that pressures you into getting your groove on to avoid getting killed. The cool thing with this game is that you don’t have worry about lives as you have unlimited continues (at least on Normal difficulty) as long as you don’t yield.

You use the directional buttons on your D-pad to Jump (Up), Vault (Left), Slide (Down), or Sprint (Right) you way to escape your pursuers. Crash into anything and it’s game over. The cool thing is the more you try the game out, you’ll realize that there are color combinations to how you negotiate with your surroundings: Jump is red, vault is yellow, slide is indigo, and sprint is cyan. Then let muscle memory guide you to victory.

The demo is generous to offer the player three full levels (Level One, Level Two, and Level Five) each with its Bonus Stages when you locate a token. Bonus Levels are challenges where they test your mettle on Hard difficulty and higher. You get one chance to clear, no continues, no slow-mos, and no color hints. In a way, it’s a hint that once you start to get cocky with the regular difficulty, maybe it’s time to move up.

In a way, personally I feel that the vibe of the game is broken the more you die. The longer you stay alive, the longer the jazzy beats play giving you a chance to vibe with the music. It’s not a rhythm game per se, but the free running does go well with the rhythm.

A combination of the retro aesthetic and game play really captured my curiosity, but the music really has now my attention. With titles like Cyber Shadow and Narita Boy really capturing my heartstrings, indie games like Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield will continue to chip on my bullet sponge wallet until I’m broke.

Aerial_Knight’s Never Yield launches on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X, and Playstation 5 on May 19.

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