I’ve been enjoying some very entertaining and well-crafted 2D games of late and here is one more in this Never Alone Review. Never Alone is an interesting platformer that recently had some new DLC coming up in Foxtales. Having not reviewed the original game I thought it best to have this, the original game out too.
You can read the Foxtales DLC Review here the remainder of this review will look at the original game.
Also known as Kisima Inŋitchuŋa, Never Alone is a video game based on the stories told by Inuit people. What’s one of the best elements of the game is the fact it not only offers you a really solid platforming game to play, but also cultural insights into the Inuit culture that influenced the game.
As an adventure it doesn’t come up with anything new in terms of the gameplay but it is very well constructed and has an undeniable charm that will really see you get attached to the little girl and her artic fox companion.
Look and Feel.
In a word, Cold. The game looks like it’s being told out in the icy planes of the Inuit people and your environment reflects this white, harsh but beautiful environment nicely. It would be easy for this game to become a blanket of white and all merge into one continuous backdrop but what is clever is how they introduce elements of the world to bring in colour or changes in environment.
Use of the aurora borealis in the game brings in some nice touches of colour both in the background and in the game actions as the spirts will try and take you as you explore. Then you have underground locations, all presented very nicely.
There is no single wow moment in the presentation of the game, more a sense of atmosphere and a realistic representation of the type of environments this culture live in every day.
Story and Gameplay
You play a young girl who is trying to find her way home in a terrible blizzard as the story is told by the narrator around your game. These are explained in more detail by, at any time, being able to dip into the cultural insights of the Inuit people and finding more about their culture and what stories mean to them.
When you are playing, you are first on your own against a rather angry polar bear chasing you until a white fox jumps in to your rescue. This companion then becomes your partner for the rest of the game which you can either have as a co-op experience with a player taking on the role of the fox. Or you can play single player and switch between the two characters.
As you go through you find something bad has happened to your village and you must help by stopping a man searching for something very powerful and finding the source of the blizzards and stopping it.
To do so, in classic 2D tradition, you explore from left to right moving through the levels by solving puzzles as a pair, moving past obstacles and avoiding death by falling or being harmed by the land or mythical beings.
The gameplay is generally a standard puzzle-platformer with moving ledges and things to move past to unlock other areas. As you progress through the game you figure more challenging puzzles that individually you would think are nothing new to gaming, other than some smart presentation. But as a package you realise that the unique environment and setting, plus the magical presentation all show the game off as a package that is really enjoyable to play.
It flirts with the frustration once of twice but overall the gameplay is well executed and nicely paced even if the game on the whole is over quite quickly.
Never Alone as a very heartwarming game, it’s location and presentation of that life is wonderful and even in the narration of the game by the Inuit people, it really stands out as a piece of artwork along with a game. While not overly long at 3-4 hours it will not be a game that keeps hold of you for long, nor will you really have any reason to play the main game again once you are finish. But fans of 2D platforming games will have such fond feelings towards the experience once finished, you won’t mind so much it was a one time joy.
Never Alone Review Format: PS4
Developers & Publishers: Upper One Games
Gaming Platform: PC Games, PS3, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Indie Games, Platform & Puzzle
Never Alone Review
Graphics - 8/10
Story - 8/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Fun Factor - 8/10
Never Alone presents itself to you in a unique way, you a literally playing a folk tale from the Inuit people as the story is told around you. The cold, harsh environment is well captured in a game with some very nicely constructed gameplay mechanics. It may be nothing new in this regard but the puzzles and well designed animations really make it worth your time. It's a shame your time with the game will be short but it's worth enjoying the story while it lasts.