N.E.R.O.: Nothing Ever Remains Obscure is a 2016 game from Storm in a Teacup, the Italian developer currently working on BioShock lookalike Close to the Sun (trailer). Regular price was $14.99 but I was able to pick it up on Playstation+ sale for $2.99 so I thought I’d try it out.
N.E.R.O. is promoted as “a wonderful journey in a world of incredible beauty, a story driven first-person game with puzzles and intuitive controls where the environment is connected to the characters and their past. The world of N.E.R.O. is magical and varied, making exploring an ongoing challenge.”
I think “incredible beauty” is a bit of a stretch. In a game where “nothing ever remains obscure,” most of the scenery is dark and difficult to see. At one point, the game’s glowing storybook sentences promised an area so “magnificent that it defied a human imagination” but delivered a shadowy shanty town and a few stone arches.
The plot of the “story driven” game seems to be not one but two, possibly three (?) tales involving parents with a sick child, brigands, and gods. Only, the gods might be the parents, or the sick child might be the leader of the brigands, or … something. Hard to say. Again, obscure.
Exploration is certainly an ongoing challenge, mainly because I kept getting stuck on the rocky terrain, unable to jump and incapable of moving at more than a snail’s pace, even when engaging the “run” button (R1). It is what many gamers would call a “walking simulator.”
By comparison, I tried The Unfinished Swan a couple weeks ago and it, too, had a story about a young boy exploring a magical land full of puzzles. But I enjoyed that game enough to play all the way through. I have no interest in finishing N.E.R.O.
N.E.R.O. is available for PS4, PC and Xbox One. Rated “E” for everyone, but I don’t think this is a game for children. They would probably find it quite boring, with most of the pretentious storytelling going over their heads.
If you decide to play, just remember to aim high. I wasted a lot of time before realizing the spells orbs were lobbed in an arc that dropped below the intended target, not cast in a straight line.
~ J.L. Hilton