Never Alone | Nintendo Switch Review
Never Alone (also known as Kisima Ingitchuna) is a narrative driven, puzzle adventure game developed by Upper One Games and published by E-Line Media, and is based on a traditional tale found in the folklore of an Alaska Native group known as the Iñupiat. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, and Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of my review I was playing the Nintendo Switch version in handheld mode.
Never Alone puts you in the shoes of a young girl, Nuna, who is a young Iñupiat girl, and she has one companion to go on this treacherous journey with her, taking the form of an arctic fox. Together, they have to set out across the desolate Alaskan wilderness to find the root of an exceptionally powerful blizzard. The blizzard has brought her village to the brink of starvation and certain death. Along the way on your journey, you’ll unlock some really beautifully produced and well crafted mini-documentaries that explain the story and folklore surrounding the Iñupiat people. Altogether, there are 24 of these mini-documentaries that teach you everything like the key to their survival in this bleak wasteland, and you’ll be able to see real stories from Alaskan natives which really transforms Never Alone from a simple, chilled out puzzle platform game, to an educational experience and quite a poignant one at that.
I found the whole narrative of Never Alone to be quite poetic. Nuna and her foxy friend are physically alone, struggling their way through this blizzard; however in actual fact they're far from alone spiritually and despite being physically absent and separate from her people, Never Alone manages to capture the spiritual togetherness of the Iñupiat people. Whilst you take control of Nuna and the little arctic fox, Never Alone isn’t Nuna’s story - it's the story of her people and is a story not just of one generation, but one that has been passed on throughout many generations.
The gameplay itself is very simple and not terribly demanding, and the puzzles don’t pose too much of a threat to your sanity and the platforming is also very standard, nothing massively challenging. Sometimes I suffered from a bit of input lag and unresponsive button presses, however there is a very good chance that's more of a Nintendo Switch issue than anything else, as I’ve experienced it on other games over my years of owning a Switch. However, it really didn’t cause me enough of an issue in the sense that I quickly recognised Never Alone truly shines when you concentrate on the narrative and the beautiful message of tranquillity and unity through the bleakest blizzard, finding that peace and knowledge that you're never truly alone. The game seeks to tell a deep and heartfelt story, and it absolutely succeeds for me. It can also be played with local co-op, where one person takes on the role of the fox and the other controls Nuna.
Whilst Never Alone is a game, it goes far deeper and far beyond that and truly succeeds when you treat it as the educational and enlightening journey that it is. It’s a cultural documentary rolled into a beautiful animated experience, allowing people to discover a beautiful tale and learn of things they may otherwise never have had the chance to learn. Difficulty wise, and content wise, Never Alone is inoffensive and poses little difficulty mechanically so no matter your skill level or interests, It could provide a fun few hours of gameplay with its stunning narrative. All the enjoyment that came from the game for me revolved around the storyline and the mini-documentary style segments that were put front and centre by the developers, so clearly they are of huge importance and are the core of the game's message.
Lj’s Rating: 4.5 arctic foxes out of 5.
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Many thanks to and Game Tomb for the Review Key.