Never Alone comes from development studio Upper One Games which started back in 2012 and is known for being the first indigenous owned company in the United States. They have teamed up with E-Line Media to publish Never Alone. Never Alone is the first game of its own kind in the aspect that it combines the culture of the native people of Alaska known as the Inupiat with action and adventure to create a truly great gameplay experience.
Never Alone is a story that takes place up in the cold icy lands of Alaska where players are in for a story told like no other. The user will be playing as two different characters, one is a young girl Nuna and an arctic fox which is where the game starts they stumble upon each other outside in the snow and they are together for the whole journey together. Nuna is out to discover the source of a terrible blizzard that is threatening the survival of all of her people. Along the way Nuna and the Arctic Fox will battle all kinds of conditions that can be found up in Alaska including dangerous beasts, dangerous weather, the dangers of the ice and the unknown will be revealed as the story continues on.
During the duo’s adventures they will come across Sila, which is known by the natives as weather and it also is where spirits will show the way and help the user through several different challenges the game has to offer. Sila can be shown as different animals in the game that can help the user climb to higher areas of the game or as different NPC’s that can give advice or items to help the user through their journey. In the game Nuna will need to acquire as Bola which is also known as a Kilauwitawinmium its a weapon that is usually used for hunting since its very quite and made from resources found in that area. The Bola can be used for catching various spirits in game as well as splitting objects open such as ice to go to a new area as well as to distract enemies from killing one of the characters.
Gameplay for Never Alone is at its core a side scrolling platformer. The player will have all the skills they will find in any other platformer but with all the stories added into Never Alone everything blends together really well. The cutscenes in the game unfold using a scrimshaw which is the way stories are told by the Inupiat they are carved or drawn on whatever they have and they are told just as a storybook. The scrimshaw is made by the person telling the story and then the story is passed down as time continues. Throughout the course of the game there is all kinds of video’s that pop up under a section called cultural insights and this is where the developer and the Inupiat have where stories from over 16 different people. Each of these people share different things from the game that bring more light from their culture and really brings the user on a deeper level to the game. One of the biggest takeaways that comes from watching the cultural insights is that the Inupiat are very community driven everything they do is for the greater good of their kind and for the people that live and breath around them.
The controls for Never Alone are very basic with the standard W, S, A, D, Space Bar to jump, R to interact, using the mouse to control where the Bola is being thrown, Q to switch between characters and CTRL to brace the ground during big gusts of wind. From what the controls look like and feel like on PC its probably very much like this on Xbox One and PS4 which is good it keeps the mechanics very simple so that the user can take all the immersion in. The characters in the game are Nuna and the Arctic Fox, these are the two main characters along with these the user will encounter several others such as: the little people, polar bears, enemy characters, spirits and several others. Each of these has a background to them and can be found in cultural insights or can be pretty much discovered as the user continues throughout the game. Never Alone is not just a single player experience it can be played with a second player so each person is controlling one of the characters. This makes the game very enticing for people looking to play a couch co-op experience.
Never Alone is really a game of its own merit. Yes, it has platforming. and great gameplay with a great story. The culture behind this game is fantastic with all the different insights and different points of views and including all of these together for a one of a kind experience that isn’t really seen in many games today. Never alone has a medium replay ability since the game is very linear and straightforward after playing it all the way through one it doesn’t give much incentive to go back through but the journey to get there is really well put together.
Overall Score: 8 / 10
RGN Rating: Silver Game
Developer: Upper One Games , E-Line Media
Publisher: E-Line Media
Available On: PS4 | Xbox One | PC (Steam)
Played On: Windows PC
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Josh Ehresmann on 20141127 and was last modified on 20141127 .