Wednesday, 06 February 2019 08:00

What Never Was Review

Written by

Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

What Never Was, developed by Acke Hallgren, is an exploration-focused puzzler. You play as Sarah, a young woman tasked with clearing out her grandfather’s attic after he has passed away. What seems like an easy task soon turns into an intriguing mystery as you explore the remnants of your grandfather’s life. With locked drawers and missing journal pages around every corner, it soon becomes clear that not everything in the attic is what it appears to be.


As you set about clearing your grandfather’s attic, you’ll find a number of locked drawers in need of keys that are nowhere to be found. Using the clues hidden around the attic, as well as the hints laid out in your grandfather’s travel journal, you can slowly work your way through the attic’s locked objects and begin to unravel the threads of the mystery your grandfather has cryptically left behind.

The puzzles are well-crafted and pleasantly unique, ranging from discerning the sequence of hidden buttons on an old globe to figuring out the correct position of a clock with four hands. The puzzles also have a nice balance in terms of difficulty and are challenging enough to keep your attention, but never so difficult that they feel overwhelming or impossible.


What Never Was is relatively quick to beat, only taking around fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on how long it takes you to complete the puzzles. This makes the game feel like more of a teaser for a bigger game to come, especially in regards to the ending’s reveal.

While the gameplay itself does not last long, it does manage to pack a punch in terms of story.

Though there are only five journal pages to find, each one provides an interesting glimpse into the world surrounding your grandfather’s travels. From the meaning of troll-stones to drawings of the strange symbols he’s found in countries all around the world, the journal entries paint an intriguing picture of your grandfather’s life. These entries also provide a nice touch of backstory and potential world-building, but leave you wanting to learn more about the adventures described. While no further additions or sequels to the title have been announced, the story definitely sets up some interesting elements if the developer ever wants to take it further.


For such a short story, What Never Was is impressive in the quality of the gameplay it provides. Grandfather’s attic is finely detailed and truly feels like a lived-in space, thanks to the large number of books lying around, knickknacks, photographs, objects with detailed histories, and other purposeful clutter throughout. A large chunk of the objects inside the attic are also interactable, which helps add depth.

The graphics are crisp, the movements are smooth, and I did not notice any stuttering when playing on the highest graphic settings, making the final product feel incredibly polished. The voice acting is a nice, polished touch, especially there being voice acting for each clickable item.


The Verdict: Great

What Never Was is an entertaining puzzle game full of potential. Though the gameplay is short and occasionally feels more like a teaser, the content provided is impressive in its polished feel. Despite the short gameplay time, an interesting story is created, and gameplay is fun. Fans of puzzle games will thoroughly enjoy the challenges presented.

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Jade Swann

Jade Swann is an avid video game player and fiction writer. She loves getting lost in open-world RPG’s, making tough choices in story-driven games, and is a big fan of the horror genre. Some of her favorite games include Fallout 3, Fallout 4, Skyrim, Planet Coaster, and The Sims 4. When not immersed in the world of video games, she can be found reading, writing, or spending time with her very lazy Boston Terrier.


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