Never Alone | Review
In Never Alone you play an Inuit girl named Nuna who must fight to survive against a menacing blizzard. By her side is her loyal companion Fox. It was developed by Upper One Games who …
I played this game exclusively co-op with my wife. I was Nuna and she played the fox. Never Alone is a puzzle platformer, but to be honest it’s pretty light on both. This is not to say that it wasn’t well thought out; on the contrary it is very well designed. From the opening sequence you can tell that this game is more than just a platformer with a story for story’s sake. Never Alone grabs you from the moment you begin this adventure with Nuna and fox. This is the story of a culture that goes back centuries if not millennia.
In Never Alone you play an Inuit girl named Nuna who must fight to survive against a menacing blizzard. By her side is her loyal companion Fox. Developed by Upper One Games in collaborated with Iñupiat, an Inuit people of Alaska, in an effort to share their culture in the form of a gaming narrative.
As you proceed through the game you will need fox to climb and knock items down to allow you to pass or climb up and activate something. This mechanic and most of the mechanics in this game are not revolutionary but they serve a larger purpose. As you progress cut scenes and videos of the Iñupiat culture will unlock. There are interviews of Iñupiat people speaking about specific themes of daily life or cultural beliefs and practices.
[pullquote]Never Alone is an incredible experience[/pullquote]
Playing this game, my wife and I both were enthralled by the emotion it evoked and the depth of the world. It wasn’t about the exploration as the game is mostly just a linear A to B format and not extremely difficult. I feel as though they have almost created a new genre that is maybe more based in interactive education and less in traditional video game entertainment.
Now for the technical stuff. Being that the environment was almost exclusively snow, they did a good job changing it up and keeping it fresh. Never Alone is not a very long game. It can be played through in less than 6 hours. The sound design was one of my favorite elements in this game. It really helped to set the mood.
Nuna’s character model moved much like Max from “Max and the Curse of Brotherhood”, and that’s not a bad thing. The movement is a little sluggish and the jump is slightly shorter than you may like. The game did have a few bugs but nothing game breaking. For example, during one part Nuna stands on a ledge and fox is supposed to go up and distract a bear and make a boulder fall which opens the next area but it did not trigger the first two times.
Never Alone is an incredible experience and unique from the standard videogame. Although not without its shortcomings. The story is reliant on the video interviews to propel parts of the narrative, and it takes you out of the experience. It may have been stronger to use in game characters or elements to teach aspects of the culture. Overall Never Alone is a game worth playing and especially for those who desire a different type of gaming experience.
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