Review written by: Adam Matthew Ink
Edited by: Dan Duyser
Our ancestors have shared cultural stories through various forms for centuries — oral tradition, artwork, text and other mediums. So, why not video games? The idea seems odd at first, with AAA first person shooters, unruly players online and the constant desire for sex and violence; Video games doesn’t seem like a viable space for this kind of storytelling. Studio, Upper One Games, decided to change that.
Developed in close partnership with the native Alaskan Community, Never Alone has a unique appeal of heartfelt genuineness. Utilizing ancestral spirits and cultural scrimshaw, Upper One presents a stand-out puzzle platformer taking place across the harsh arctic terrain. The story is a ride of despair and whimsy inside the adventure. In a time where online only gameplay fuels the new generation of gaming, it felt great to play couch co-op with my fiancée, traversing the beautifully designed levels with an adorable little eskimo girl, Nuna accompanied by a cute arctic fox.
About halfway through the game the plot took an unexpected turn, which abruptly changed the gameplay — in my opinion for the worse (albeit emotionally powerful from a story perspective). Never the less, the ending was well worth the drive we gave it.
Never Alone is a great emotional indie game with amazing storytelling, beautiful cultural insights directly from the natives, and a couch co-op experience as good as any other. Upper One set out to create a fun and innovative story true to ancestral folktales and the Alaskan culture, they were able to hit their mark and make a fun game to boot. For only $15 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Steam, we recommend picking this one up!