When I first saw the trailer for the action-adventure game Neva, I knew it would be an emotional rollercoaster, especially after experiencing developer Nomada Studios’ tearjerker Gris. So, I thought I was prepared for the emotional weight of Neva during my hands-on demo at the Tribeca Film Festival. However, I was caught off guard.

As the demo began, I was once again faced with the heart-wrenching trailer. After the familiar story unfolded, I found myself in a breathtaking lush green forest, where I encountered the game’s protagonist, Alba, and a wolf cub named Neva. The bond between Alba and Neva immediately tugged at my heartstrings, and I couldn’t help but worry about what emotional journey lay ahead.

Taking a moment to admire the stunning visuals of the game, I was captivated by the vibrant colors and intricate details of the forest. The transition from one picturesque scene to the next was seamless, each more beautiful than the last. The encounter with wildlife in the game, such as deer and wild boar, reminded me of the enchanting world of Studio Ghibli films like Princess Mononoke.

The platforming mechanics of Neva felt smooth and familiar, reminiscent of Gris. The double jump was satisfying and added a tactile feel to the gameplay. As Alba and Neva embarked on their journey through the different seasons, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of responsibility towards Neva, similar to the bond between the player and Trico in The Last Guardian.

One notable addition to Neva was the combat feature, adding a new layer of depth to the gameplay. The looming threat of a dark force encroaching on the vibrant world added a sense of urgency and danger, contrasting the emotional narrative of Gris. The combat mechanics, though simple, felt effective and engaging, enhancing the overall experience.

Despite my apprehension about the emotional toll of Neva, I found myself eagerly anticipating the full release of the game later this year. The thought of delving deeper into the story of Alba and Neva, despite the inevitable heart-wrenching moments, was both daunting and enticing. As I prepare for the emotional journey that awaits, I can’t help but stock up on tissues in anticipation of shedding a few tears along the way.