It is a rarity when you can say you have played a game steeped in culture, this is one of those occasions. Never alone has been recently ported to the Wii U, it is a good one to add to the Eshop collection for sure. It is a indie game darling with lots of nominations across the gaming world for gaming awards. How does it fit and does it actually play as well as we are lead to believe?
Never alone is a puzzle platformer akin to the likes of Abe’s Odyssey, you are negotiating a side scrolling screen working between a girl and a snow fox. There are puzzles in which you swap about who to control to do certain things, like the fox can crawl higher and the girl can push things, I am sure as a gamer you know the type of thing on offer here. The game play feels a bit slow-paced and the A.I can feel a bit off in solo player too. These aren’t particular problems in my view, this is more of a story than a game, and the pace is dictated by the story, that’s how it slows, more on this later.
As for the graphics and atmosphere of the game, where do I start, it is all very nice, I like the setting, the graphics bring it all it. The sounds of blowing wind and traditional Inuit music add to the world that is being created. Here the kicker is the story that is added to the world that is what makes this game something to talk about.
To go into that, I would like to take a look at the development, just to see, how the story, atmosphere and all were just on point for the story they were to tell. The development team that worked on this story went full on with the research for it. It breathes the story, when I was told it was a game made in collaboration with the Inupiat people, I could believe it, (The Inupiat is a people native to Alaska, who has shared the story used in this game for generations). When you tell me forty elders from all the Inuit tribes input on the story, yes I would believe that too, it is that authentic, it feels like you are sitting around a fire-place listening to the story as it pans out.
The story is an Inuit equivalent to a fairy tale, only with a harder edge. A young girl goes to investigate a storm that is stopping her tribe from hunting, bringing starvation. Curiosity brings her out, wanting to know who and why, soon the adventure starting, a polar bear comes across her and chases her until she is caught. There an arctic fox comes out of no where and distracts the bear, saving the girl’s live. The two become natural allies and the adventure and peril expands along the same lines.
The research pops up as a things happen on the screen, you just have to push a button on the game pad to bring you to some back story from the Smithsonian museum, whether it is artefacts or pictures of old drawings, it adds more to the story as it goes making it real in the real world.
That is the best part of the game, the atmosphere, the story, I wouldn’t recommend this to impatient gamers though. There is fun to be had of a different kind for sure, I liked this but didn’t think there would be much replay value, after you have read up on it and done the story that is it. I would recommend this to someone who would like this type of thing, or wants something different, action fans beware this isn’t perfect for you at all!
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