Inupiaq population moved in about 1000 BC from the islands of the Bering sea to what appears to be the current Alaska. More than 3000 years later Upper One Games has decided to tell us about the traditions and the deep-rooted history of this ancient population. Never Alone (on console next gen and PC), takes us to Alaska, where this civilization has known its most flourishing period and where Nuna, in the company of her arctic fox, are ready to take us by the hand and tell us this story.
Never Alone shows immediately a strong narrative-descriptive component. Kunuuksaayuka is the name of the legend that we are going to relive during the hours of play, and as already anticipated, treats the vicissitudes of a child of the Inupiaq people. The developers have dedicated themselves painstakingly to the study and editing of many small documentaries, which in the form of in-game collectibles, will give us a clearer idea about this age-old population, dealing with topics such as traditions, legends, tools and particularly dear places to the Inupiaq.
Beside Nuna we will have a constant presence, an arctic fox that will help us overcome obstacles and consequently the progress of history throughout the duration of the game. The game looks like a scrolling adventure with a high rate of "puzzles", intended as situations in which we will have to use our reasoning skills to overcome the phases of the game.
In the course of the narration the fundamental component will therefore be cooperation, the interactions between Nuna and the fox will in fact be the basis for overcoming every stage of the game, from the removal of some barriers to escape from enemies passing through the reaching of platforms not within reach of individual characters. We will have the opportunity to exploit the reduced size of the fox to pass under obstacles, or we will be able to take advantage of its ability to climb to reach prohibitive heights, while Nuna will give us the opportunity to exploit the "Bolas", a typical Inupiaq weapon, which will allow us to break down obstacles and ward off enemies.
A sliding Alaska
Despite the simplicity of the environments designed for the game we can only assert that the graphic rendering is valuable and noteworthy. One of the aspects that will surely make the adventure more valuable will be precisely the graphic aspect, which thanks to the PC and next gen support, gives the game a highly respected technical section. We will therefore be faced with scenarios that will amaze us in terms of definition, lights, colors and details, which will help us to avoid that feeling of repetitiveness that is often typical of scrolling games.
Playable on its own or together with a friend, but only locally, Never Alone takes up the classic mechanisms of the genre, providing Nuna and the fox with a series of peculiar skills that involve the frequent passage from one character to another to solve various environmental puzzles. The girl can climb on platforms that are more or less at her height and, from a certain point on, use an inupiat throwing weapon called "bolas" (a little too cumbersome to check, in truth), with which it is possible to break ice walls that obstruct the path.
If the technical sector does its part to avoid repetition we cannot say the same with regards to the gameplay and the cooperation of the characters. However successful the cooperation mechanics we have listed above, their continuous repetition makes the adventure rather flat, reducing it to a reiteration of the usual actions. In addition, AI often fails to completely follow the actions of the character we are using, resulting in the death of our partner, and consequently our return to the previous checkpoint. In the long run this problem could be frustrating and risky for the game, but fortunately the developers have contributed to the partial resolution of the problem by introducing the cooperative mode, thanks to which we will be able to face the adventure together with a friend who can replace an artificial intelligence not quite efficient.
Overall - 7
Never Alone appears on the virtual shelves of our consoles in conjunction with high-caliber games, despite this, the game developed by Upper One Games strives to say, indeed to scream, its giving us a little pearl of the Indie world. Not without flaws, it manages to compensate for them thanks to a full-bodied and accurate narrative section, which is partly able to atrophy that feeling of repetition derived from the repetition of the same game mechanics. The end result is a pleasant game, able to offer us something new despite its brevity, for the completion in fact a maximum of 3/4 hours of play will be required.
Download Never Alone
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP