Never Alone is a truly unique Puzzle-Platformer game, offering a more educational front as well as challenging. You play as Nuna and her Arctic Fox companion, traversing through the treacherous landscape of Alaska. Relying on each other skills you must solve a number of harsh natural challenges, as well as spiritual. You can play co-op with your mates or you can swap between the characters in single player, using their unique abilities to progress and discover your course.
Never Alone is based on the traditional Iñupiaq tale, “Kunuuksaayuka”. I’ve got to say it’s a tale that gets the heart moving. The atmospheric music really brings the story to life and makes you feel everything Nuna is feeling during her adventure. The in-between chapter cutscenes are told in Scrimshaw, a form of art, the Iñupiaq elders use to tell stories and pass them through generations.
As someone who’s never looked into Native American tribes, this was a huge eye-opener, as you progress you are rewarded with “insights”. These are interviews with Iñupiaq people or descendants who explain the stories. For me, as someone who hasn’t taken much interest in Native American cultures, this was truly eye-opening. The beliefs these people hold are inspiring, to say the least, it made me think about the way we interact with the world outside and the way we as humans see our place in the world. Now I got to be honest, a game has never done that to me before, so this was a huge shock and I think it one of the reason’s I enjoyed it so much.
Apologies for the rant there, back to the gameplay. Upper One Games really used this knowledge and combined perfectly with the game’s mechanics. Throughout the game, you encounter several different spirits, some that help you along your path and some more sinister, that try snatch into you into the northern lights. This adds another layer to the challenge, as you are not told what you need to do with these spirits. I felt I just had to run into them and hope for the best, it wasn’t until the fourth chapter did, I realise that the Arctic fox and can actually control them with his movement.
I highly recommend this game, its story is captivating, the gameplay is fun and can be challenging. Although it can fall flat and the controls can get irritating (what game’s controls don’t), the game is fun, and I deeply appreciate the message or lesson the game tries to get across. But I’m a bit of nerd and like to be taught new things, but I would highly recommend this and can’t wait to play the expansion “Foxtales”. This expansion continues the tale of Nuna and her Arctic Fox, so really excited to see what install.
Till next time.