The Neverhood looks and plays like a Gumby dream. It's an engaging Myst-style point-and-click puzzle game crafted with beautifully rendered claymation graphics. The result is an engrossing and entertaining exercise in mystery-solving with an eye-popping look (by the design team that created Earthworm Jim) that's fun to play but a little more fun to watch.
Shitting between a first-person view and a side-scrolling view, you guide the game's hero, aptly named Klaymen. through a series of puzzles as he endeavors to defeat Klogg, the evil ruler of the Neverhood. The controls are very simple: You point and click on any of the surroundings and in most cases the A.I. does the rest, causing Klaymen to automatically interact with various objects and devices.
This is no twitch game, so brain power, not quick reflexes, is what you need. While some of the puzzles are perplexing, none of them have solutions so obscure that you'll burst a blood vessel trying to solve them. The premium here is on exploration, but the absence of a "smart cursor" that changes shape when it passes over clickable objects certainly ups the challenge.
An Audio/Visual Feast
The Neverhood's fantastic graphics steal the show. Klaymen and his world were actually sculpted from clay. A dizzying range of seamless facial expressions and physical antics brings Klaymen to life. He runs, jumps, spits, belches, and swings his way through the game. The other characters in the Neverhood are also visually arresting.
Of course, not everything is perfect. The claymation graphics look great in long and medium camera shots, but some images grow a little fuzzy during close-ups. That's a very minor quibble, though, in this otherwise exceptional-looking game.
The sound effects are simple; featuring a nice variety of interactive noises, such as bells, oficers, and footsteps. Jazzy music enlivens the game's pace at key moments, but is thankfully absent when you're faced with perplexing situations (like the hall of records that seems to go on forew) that require deep concentration.
Heyday of Clay
The Neverhood is an excellent adventure/puzzle game. Challenging puzzles and situations will provide you with hours of play, and Klay-men and his cohorts supply plenty of character--thanks to superb claymation graphics. You'll wish the Neverhood would never end.
- After the monster in the courtyard chases you back to the house, he knocks a match off a shelf. Light the dynamite man and push him toward the monster. The monster eats the dynamite man and explodes!
- Go to the puzzle on the wall and move the pieces around until you form an "H" When you do, the door opens.
Download The Neverhood
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
For gamers who loved the surprises and humor packed in Earthworm Jim, the next big surprise may be what some of EWJ's creators are cooking up now. The Neverhood is an adventure game gorgeously rendered with photorealistic clay-mation environments and clay figures. The action takes place in a magical world, The Never-hood. You play the clay hero, Klaymen, who must solve puzzles and battle enemies like giant crustaceans and robots to keep the 'hood safe from the evil devices of Klogg.
Here's an action game where having feet of clay is a really good thing. We first previewed this innovative game last month (see "PC GamePro," August), and we have more to show you. The Neverhood is a fantasy domain created from magic clay by Hoborg, the lonely ruler of a magical world. The clay brings its sculpted inhabitants to life, but one of them, Klogg, has evil on his newly molded mind. You play Klaymen, a floppy-limbed clay hero who decides to thwart Klogg's machinations even as he searches for the meaning of his existence.
The Neverhood features 60 puzzle-driven tasks, surrounded by trap doors, hidden hallways, and secret areas. You also battle weird crustacean monstrosities and gigantic boss creatures like the 50-foot Big Robot Bill. The interface is a simple point-and-click design that emphasizes the action, eschewing inventories and level maps.
According to the developers (also called The Never-hood), the photorealistic character models and scenery consist of over three tons of clay! Despite the dark and dangerous story line, the designers plan to endow the stop-frame characters with humor, so you can have a few laughs as you confront the existential nature of clay.