N.E.R.O or Nothing Ever Remains Obscure is a puzzle based first person game which is set in a fictional mystical world. Your character starts on a boat travelling towards an abandoned fishing village, a voice with a British accent is narrating your actions. As the voice describes the history of a race of creatures called Brigands, you come to realise that your own personal objective is to find these mysterious beings. As your character never speaks, you never really know why you are searching for them, perhaps you are one yourself? Or you’re a wise explorer who wants to know all the mysteries of the world. You will soon find the answer within the first chapter of the game.
The game itself follows three narratives, the first being the voice which is narrating your actions in the third person. The second narrative is physically written within the environment that you are exploring. I found this abstract presentation of narrative to be quite pleasant as opposed to reading reams of text, and it helps to tell the story as the text you are reading is relevant to what is in front of you. The final narrative is quite absent to begin with, it will appear as the written narrative too, but it is presented as a conversation. This conversation is following the growth of a family of two parents with a newborn child. What happens onwards from that would reveal too many spoilers, but what I can reveal is that all the stories are interlinked and will eventually make sense.This puzzle is completed by accurately shooting the light orb into the hole, therefore introducing you to the different ways puzzles work within the game. After your first few puzzles, you eventually happen up your companion, a tall figure clad like yourself except their robe is black and they have a slightly larger frame. From this it is easy to determine that he is male and you are his female counterpart. This companion can help you to do certain puzzles such as standing on pressure plates. You later find that the connection between the
The graphics for the game are very impressive for the RRP (£15.99) and that is it at full price, but at the moment it is on offer for only £9.49. It is clear that Storm in a Teacup has put a lot of thought into N.E.R.O due to the amazing quality of the graphics. The world created seems to have taken some influence from James Cameron’s iconic blockbuster Avatar, with the mystical glow all the plants seem to have adapted in this utopian world. There are also aspects of Alice in Wonderland as your character searches deeper into the cave and finds the likes of giant caterpillars. Your character is very abstract, a silhouette figure with white glowing eyes to match their white glowing gown.
The puzzles seem very basic to begin with, the first one you encounter is a basic dial puzzle where you have to align the arrows on it in order to enter the cave. Your character then picks up a mystical power as you progress though the cave which allows you to shoot orbs of light. Upon the discovery of this power you conveniently come across a small pillar sticking out of the ground with a hole in it. This puzzle is completed by accurately shooting the light orb into the hole, therefore introducing you to the different ways puzzles work within the game. After your first few puzzles, you eventually happen up your companion, a tall figure clad like yourself except their robe is black and they have a slightly larger frame. From this it is easy to determine that he is male and you are his female counterpart. This companion can help you to do certain puzzles such as standing on pressure plates, etc. You later find that the connection between the two characters is not a coincidental meeting, but something far more meaningful.
Deeper into the tunnel still the narrative gives you an option of whether to go left or right on a split path, choosing one will have different outcome to choosing the other, which shows another way in which the producers have gone into great detail for the game to go as far as to write different outcomes for each decision the player makes. N.E.R.O also has little added extra collectibles, such as pieces of a fragmented photograph that you slowly put together throughout the game, this will reveal a little more information about the storyline.
Unfortunately, there are very few controls for the game, for example, there isn’t even a jump button! This could be because it is a puzzle game and there aren’t really that many controls needed. These controls expand to three actions (excluding analogue sticks) these are run (R1), aiming the orb and shooting it (L1 – R1) and telling your companion where to go (L2). For the simpler controls, such as run, I was given in-game instruction for. However, for navigating my companion I was given no instructions and had to figure it out myself by trying every button on the pad. Whether or not this was a glitch, I don’t know. The initial game play is quite scary, very dark and airy. When playing it, I felt on edge as though something would spontaneously jump out from the darkness and attack, me since my character is completely defenceless and running isn’t much different from walking. But this could just be the fact that I’ve recently played the new Resident Evil demo, and can no longer trust a safe environment.
Another thing I like about the game is how it has entirely gone back to the basics of a classic game, it’s just the a character walking around solving puzzles. There’s no health packs, weapon mods, armour, etc. because you don’t need them at all. It feels a little strange playing a game without an inventory, but that’s another thing that makes this game work so well.
To summarize, this is a great game for passing time and for those puzzle enthusiasts. Not only are the graphics fantastic for the price you pay for the game, but it also has a very gripping story line that you find yourself getting overly indulged in. Get the tissues ready, it’s going to be a rollercoaster of emotions.