Never alone or ‘Kisima Inŋitchuŋa’ (I Am Not Alone) is a platformer with puzzles thrown in to break up the monotony of running through endless plains of snow & ice.
The game serves as an educational lesson about the culture of the Iñupiat people, who are native to Alaska. As you progress you unlock ‘cultural insights’ which are short videos that explain about the Iñupiat’s way of life.
The games story also serves as an educational tool & sees the player put in control of Nuna & an Arctic Fox, who then go off to find out the cause of a blizzard that just won’t stop blowing. The game combines several folklore stories from the Iñupiat way of life split into chapters.
The game can be played co-operatively or by swapping between Nuna & the fox with the press of a button. Both have their uses…the fox is fast & can climb steep walls while Nuna can push & pull things while also using her bola (a kind of swinging catapult) to access new paths.
It’s simple to understand & easy to get to grips with.
The game has 8 chapters & you’re unlikely to be tested until chapter 6. The game is incredibly easy with the puzzles being very basic up until the latter half of the game. Even then the forgiving checkpoint system means you’re rarely challenged.
The game is short (I completed it in less than 3 hours) & while admirable, just not that much fun.
The problem lies in the gameplay…not the story. Repetition in a platformer is inevitable but Never Alone is particularly bad with its pacing. When the chapter does call for something different (running from an enemy which is something that is repeated several times also) it is so simply done that it borders on being boring.
Never Alone is a pretty game that gets the harshness of the environment across nicely. The camera works well for the most part following along nicely but every so often I found myself moving fast enough that the camera couldn’t quite keep up & I fell into a hole that wasn’t clear.
Educational, interesting – at times & an admirable approach to development aren’t enough to elevate this game to anything more than passable.
Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa)