Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) was released on 18th November 2014, and later won “Best Debut Game” at the 2015 BAFTA Games Awards.
The “game [is] developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people. Nearly 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members contributed to the development of the game. Play as a young Iñupiat girl and an arctic fox as they set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard which threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.” – Never Alone official site
I first became interested in the game from a vlogger I watch, who mentioned the game and played a bit of the game. Got the game during a sale and finally got around to playing the game.
[ps: My lack of posts lately has been due to having complications in collecting my student visa. Hopefully I’ll get it tomorrow. Fingers crossed!]
As mentioned in the beginning of the post, you play as both a young Iñupiat girl (Nuna) and an arctic fox (who is just simply named Fox). You can play this with a friend in a local co-op or by yourself. There is controller support as well for players who prefer a controller.
For the most part, Never Alone is your standard platformer game. Using both Nuna and the fox’s unique abilities, you transverse the icy landscape to find the source of the endless blizzard that threatens your village with starvation. Nuna is able to move objects and throw a native weapon (called a Bolo) which can shatter ice walls. Fox has a little more abilities ranging from higher jump, wall climb and most importantly, able to summon spirits that can aid Nuna is reaching areas otherwise inaccessible.
You probably will be able to get through the game in one sitting, obviously you would get through the game much quicker if playing with a friend. I however, opted for the single-player experience.
Because I have no friends who will play games with me…for local co-op anyway. The game took me about four hours to complete. I got stuck on chapter 8 for a very long time to the point I did end up raging….and eventually rage-quit. To go to the gym.
Throughout the game there are collectibles (seen as owls) which offer insights to the Inuit culture. You can view these insights on the menu as they play as short videos explaining certain aspects of their culture. There is a total of twenty-four but I only found twenty-one. I probably missed the ones in the last few chapters were it was much harder to get through the game. I like the idea of being able to learn the culture through videos but I am not sure if the collectible system is the best way to go about it. Most are easy to find but for those who really want to learn about the Inuits, you are left wanting to find them all.
Unfortunately there is not much replay value for the game. Unless you missed some of the collectibles, once you finish the game there is nothing much left to do. Perhaps playing the co-op with a friend who has never played the game but I just don’t see much replay value in the game.
I think the game really shines with the narration, which was narrated by a master Inuit story-teller (I may be wrong) which I felt add so much to the game. The little touches of humor was great as well. Also the visuals are amazing. Swapping between the 2D and the animated story sequences. If I am not wrong, I think the animated story sequences are actually done in traditional Inuit art style.
I do have problems with the game however. The main one would be the sudden spike in difficulty towards the end (starting at Chapter 8) where you are forced to quickly swap between Nuna and the fox in timed events. Include with my not-always-cooperative computer mouse that I have yet to replace and well, you are going to have a bad time. My main frustration was more often on how slow the Fox was in moving the spirits around. You had to move quickly to get Nuna in a place where she would be able to safely progress before the window of opportunity closes. Or window of safety before you drown in the cold, frigid waters to be more exact. Another problem could actually be attributed to my mouse actually where it does not always swap characters.
Despite the frustrations, I did have fun playing the game for the most part and I am sure would be more enjoyable if you could play this with someone. It would probably also ease the difficulty of the later chapters as well. I also did notice a discrepancy in the story, the original story often implies the protagonist is male while in the game, the protagonist is female. Not a big deal but just something I noticed. I am still cringing at the one scene since I really did like the Fox. That manslaughter guy was a douche. I do not get what was his deal/obsession with the bolo.
Still a wonderful game that brings you into the world of the Inuit by telling you one of their legends, as well providing short videos that explain further of certain aspects of their culture and beliefs.