Greatness turned into a great mess!
From the very start, Nero had great potential. The art seemed interesting and the story felt compelling, but with some major problems, Nero falls short of being something amazing. This is developers 'Storm In A Teacup' first rodeo and it shows. At the moment, Nero is an Xbox One exclusive, but soon it will reach other platforms like the Wii U, 3DS, and PC.
Nero takes about 45 minutes to let the player finally understand the story 'Storm In a Teacup' is trying to tell, and having the game run a measly 2-3 hours long doesn't help. You play as a little boy going through a mysterious world as a narrator and texts bubbles in the world convey the story. Interestingly enough the developers made a clever way to tell the story, the texts that pop up felt unique and creative from any other recent game from the past. It almost felt like a Disney ride that lasted 2 hours long, well overstaying its welcome. The world that is presented to you and the story that is being told is intriguing enough at most to keep you invested to see it to its end.
There are plenty of mistakes 'Storm In A Teacup' made, from the misspelling of words in texts to just the poorly optimized game and to be frank, its hard to overlook them. At times, it felt like the game was running below 20fps. Nero is similar to games like Ether One or Gone Home for the PC, where Nero differentiates itself from a typical game to more of an experience. There isn't any real danger or anything to kill in the game, the game decides to take you on an 'experience' journey which hopes to keep its players satisfied. Due to the characters sluggish speed of walking, you will find yourself easily getting frustrated and the equally painful running doesn't add much relief.
To dilute this problem, the developers put in puzzles to break up the extensive amount of snaillike walking you will encounter. For the most part, the puzzles are simplistic and are mostly there to create some sort of gameplay. As interesting as some of them get, most of them will have you shooting little light orbs from your characters hand at the specific target to complete the puzzle. These could get tedious and repetitious fairly quick. They added a nice little feature for people who do find these puzzles fun, where you can get lost off the beaten path and come across dozens of puzzles that are not story related.
One of Nero's biggest problems is that the game will just crash for no apparent reason. Numerous times the game quit and sent me back to the home screen. If that's not bad enough, when loading the game back up, I would lose 30 minutes of my time, problems like this in games leave a stale taste in my mouth, making it hard for you to want to return. On top of the major game crashing bugs, the game practically punishes you for exploring the world. Many times did I find myself looking for some of the collectibles and got stuck between a couple rocks and trees, or sometimes it would plain out freeze the game which would call for a cold reboot of the game. Its quite absurd that Microsoft allowed this game to go on their system without thoroughly checking for bugs like this.
But for as many things Nero does wrong, there is always something it tries to do to balance it out. The ambience music in the background always fit the mood of the game, and the narrators voice acting was well done. At times the music was some of the best parts of the game. Going through places with no narration and with the music combined with the story texts, it created some of the most tense scenes in the game. The mysterious lands you will explore can have you looking around in every nook and cranny to find all the collectibles. This offers some replay value to players who are interested in their gamer score, but only the ones who can deal with the games major bugs.
Ultimately the price tag that Nero is asking for is abysmal, it has too many negatives over its head to ask for $20. 'Storm In A Teacup' have a great ability to tell a fascinating story, but due to major bugs, the game holds itself back from the greatness it could have been and turned it into the great mess that it is. Hopefully by the time they start porting Nero to other systems, they get all their technical issues sorted out because Nero did have an excellent story that should be experienced, but never under these circumstances.