Myth’s, folklore and fables have a unique place in all of our media, and games are not immune to the draw of the camp fire tales spread by word of mouth by our ancestors. Whether it be the cryptids of the Greeks with their Centuars, Minotaurs and Griffons, or the pixie’s, goblins and gnomes depicted in British and German lore, they have all debuted and been immortalised in video games at some point.
Never Alone (Kisima Inŋitchuŋa) is the culmination of years of work by the creative minds at Upper One Games in conjunction with Storytellers from the Alaskan Inupiaq people. The story of Nuna’s epic journey is built on the beliefs that the Inupiaq hold dear and has been passed from parent to child over the centuries.
Nuna, a young but resourceful and skilled hunter decides to track down the source of the blizzards that are plaguing her village and stopping them from being able to hunt and driving them to the brink of starvation. On this journey, she is saved by, and befriends, an arctic fox who joins her on her quest.
A simple, yet elegant, platformer Never Alone makes good use of the environment around you, and intertwines the fascinating Inupiaq lore and vision of the living, breathing world around them to great effect.
The arctic fox, acts not only as your companion, but as your guardian as he helps you to fend off polar bears and mischievous spirit , and lets you commune with the more helpful spirits of the Arctic world. These spirits must be called upon to aid you as you navigate through the treacherous, yet beautiful landscape.
Visually satisfying, Nuna’s world is brought to life with the inclusion of tradition native art styles that form the cornerstone of the land and ecosystem around you and form the basis of some of the puzzles you must overcome to succeed in saving your village. As the blizzard strikes, Nuna is bowled off her feet if unprepared and gusts ruffle the fur and whip the hood of her traditional caribou clothing, while the spirits of the trees, animals and land around you utilising the artistry of the traditional scrimshaw.
This story, is engaging and reveals the belief and difficulties that these communities endure thousands of miles away and gives an insight into their cultural and its influences.
Never alone is not only an attractive and engaging game in its own right, but is worth the purchase for its attempt to diversify our knowledge of the outside world and give us an insight into a world of which we know very little.
MLG Rating: 8/10 Format: Xbox One / PlayStation 4 / PC Release Date: 18/11/2014
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Never Alone by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 2 weeks on a PlayStation 4. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.