This month Playstation has provided us with yet another beautiful, story-driven experience in their selection of PS+ free games.
Never Alone is a relatively simple platformer in terms of mechanics but has an intriguing and educating cultural story built around the culture and folklore of the native Alaskan Inupiaq people.
Throughout the game you control a young girl and her fox sidekick as they set out to find the source of a powerful blizzard which has wreaked havoc on her home village. Each character has their own unique traits and abilities, the girl can move objects in order to reach higher platforms and later gains access to a bola throwing weapon used to break ice blocking your progress. The fox is more agile, faster and can jump further in the early parts of the game and later on gains an ability to move “spirit” platforms which can aid the girl to move around the levels.
Whilst not controlling a character AI takes over in order to keep the pair relatively close together. However this is where the first problems begin to arise, as it occasionally fails to make certain jumps, gets stuck or refuses to protect itself from danger which results in death and a restart of the level.
My other concerns with the game come from the controls which at times are unintuitive, particularly with the fox in the later parts of the game as you attempt to move platforms with no clear distinction between those that can and cannot be interacted with. Also late in the game an impeding danger chasing your characters forces you to much through sections switching rapidly between characters to clear a path, this however is completely counter to the remainder of the game which didn’t prepare you to play sections in this manner prior.
Overall this is a fun and educational game that does a brilliant job of teaching the player about the native Alaskan culture. Unfortunately though it isn’t as acceptable as I was hoping for at the outset, so it would be difficult to recommend this to non-gamers as a purely story/educational device.
Below are links to my stream archives of my play through of Never Alone.
***1/2 out of 5.