I absolutely love The Neverhood. This claymation game is funny, full of clever puzzles, wonderful variety, fantastic landscapes, has a moral, and is totally addictive.
You can still find copies of this out of production PC game at on-line auctions. It is worth whatever you have to pay for it. You might think from the pictures that it is a game for small children, but it’s really not. The puzzles are probably too difficult for anyone under ten, and I know a lot of adults who have never finished this game because they couldn’t figure them out either.
But once I started playing I was sucked into the Neverhood with Klaymen the adventurer who must make it through all the regions of his world. He begins by awakening when you click on him as he sleeps in a bare room. Check out all the views through the windows, open doors, explore every opening. Receive messages from Hoborg (God). Along the way he learns who he is and why he is here. Sound familiar?
I’m not much of a serious gamer (to have seen lots of games) but this one is supposed to be still one-of-a-kind. The internal jokes are bizarre or cute, gross (but never obscene) or subtle, quirky or slapstick. The music was so good it was released on its own CD.
This is more a game for puzzle addicts than those who want to rack up a body count.
Many of the puzzles load random solutions, so one game might be slightly different from your friend’s. You can save your game, or save several different games if you want. There is only one place Klaymen can actually die, but save often because it’s a long game, and you don’t want to have to start over and work your way through all the sequences every time you go back to it.
As you play, Klaymen must collect small cassettes which he inserts into players he finds along the way to watch animated sequences that tell him more and more about his quest. These animations are incredibly well done. He even will find a long, long, long, written history of the world he is in.
There is no list of items you have collected. If you click on some feature and you have the needed item Klaymen will just take it out of a storage compartment in his chest and use it. As I got deeper and deeper into the game I needed to take extensive notes to remember where certain things were located and what various switches, buttons, and ropes controlled. There is also no locator map. You learn about the landscape in the same way you would in real life, by exploring it. You can look out of many of the windows if you click on them. The more looking around you do the more you will develop a map of this world in your head. I did end up drawing a map on paper before I was finished.
The CD includes a short movie about how the game was made that is worth watching in its own right.
Oh yeah, I played non-stop for two days and finished the game, although I thought I’d never figure out how to open one of the last doors. And then I found that there are two alternate endings!
PS, be sure to let Klaymen get bored occasionally to see how he amuses himself when he’s not walking around!