Never Alone

A heart­warm­ing jour­ney against all odds across the Alaskan wilder­ness

Mac Format - - MAC GAMES RATED - Alan Stone­bridge

£11.99 De­vel­oper Up­per One Games LLC, nev­er­ Re­quires OS X 10.8.5 or higher, 1.7GHz In­tel Core i5, 2GB RAM, see web­site for graph­ics cards

Never Alone tells the story of an Iñu­piat child’s trek across the haz­ardous Alaskan land­scape to find the source of a bl­iz­zard that’s rav­aging her vil­lage, with only an arc­tic fox for com­pany.

Their jour­ney is de­picted us­ing plat­form-based ac­tion and puz­zle solv­ing. Nuna can use tricks such as strong winds to cross chasms and weigh­ing things down with heavy ob­jects to open up pathways, and the fox can claw its way up walls to reach things that are out of Nuna’s reach. Pro­gres­sion un­locks videos which ex­plain how the game draws upon Iñu­piat cul­ture.

The at­mos­phere built by the vi­su­als and sound fos­ters af­fec­tion for the duo. It’s heart­break­ing to hear Nuna gasp or the fox’s mourn­ful whim­per when the other falls vic­tim to a dan­ger. Mess­ing up can feel like it wasn’t your fault, but am­ple check­points keep the story mov­ing. The cost of this is the game’s short length, which isn’t helped by things just start­ing to get chal­leng­ing around the half­way mark.

Best en­joyed with a part­ner, Never Alone is a beau­ti­ful short story with moral points to make to kids.

An ex­pe­ri­enced player can fin­ish the sin­gle-player mode within three hours, but the game shines when played with a young fam­ily mem­ber to re­in­force the story’s col­lab­o­ra­tive theme. The game­play is not ground­break­ing, but it’s the ve­hi­cle for a lovely bit of folk­lore told in a mod­ern way.

Strong at­mos­phere

Videos about Iñu­piat cul­ture

Not much of a chal­lenge

Oc­ca­sion­ally feels un­fair

Pow­er­ful beasts and spir­i­tual awak­en­ings await Nuna in the frozen wilder­ness.

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