A heartwarming journey against all odds across the Alaskan wilderness
£11.99 Developer Upper One Games LLC, neveralonegame.com 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.
Videos about Iñupiat culture
Not much of a challenge
Occasionally feels unfair
Powerful beasts and spiritual awakenings await Nuna in the frozen wilderness.