Review: Never Alone – Bring me to the spirits

Never alone has done multiple things for me as a gamer: I now have to admit that, in rare cases, the length of game doesn’t always factor into the worth of the purchase, it reinvigorated my need to see diverse casts and cultural backgrounds used in games, and it created a connection to the characters and adventure that I had not felt in a long time. Never alone is a puzzle platformer about a girl named Nuna and her wolf companion. The story is a combination of various Inuit tales that make up each chapter. The spirit of Inuit children who have passed away and play in the sky as the aurora borealis, represented by ghostly beings The that swoop around and try to take Nuna away. And and tiny mischievous humans who become a road block to Nuna achieving her first task are just a couple of the interesting tales the characters will play through. Challenged not only by the puzzles and obstacles, like a raging polar bear or cracking ice, the duo must contend with constant thread of a blizzard. One of the best features of the game are the culture insights that you can collect through your adventure. The culture insights help to expand on your knowledge of the stories told, and help bring a spiritual or emotional connection to Nuna and the snow foxes journey. Told through video clips with people from the Inuit community explaining concepts or history of Inuit culture, it adds more to the idea of a polar bear chasing you than it being just another escape scene. neveralone1 Watching these videos put me in a different place not only as a gamer but as a person. I felt like I was connecting to a source of spirituality that had long left my heart. As an African-America I often feel opposed to the current state of what we consider black culture. On the same token the feeling and connection to my African roots feel so far gone that I often feel culturally and spiritually lost, with no real sense that the universe has created a place for me. But being able to watch the passion, nostalgia, and reverence from the people helping to expand these tales was touching. And for my time with this game, even if it wasn’t through my own culture, I felt a connection to something beyond just my meager existence. Even with that aspect of the game being so great, if the gameplay doesn’t hold up that would ruin the experience as a game. Luckily, not only are we treated to a grand tale, but it is accompanied by solid platforming and puzzle solving. neveralone 2 The game can be played single player, where you switch between Nuna and the snow fox to traverse the terrain and solve puzzles or it can be played coop, which is welcome edition. For my play through I went it Solo. The controls were spot on, I never had any issues making a jump or landing where I needed to land because of control issues. If I made a mistake it because of bad timing, like trying to make a jump as the blizzard winds raged, forcing me past my target location. Many of the puzzles Involve spirits that will help you through the environment. The wolf being the Catalyst to draw the spirits in appearing. The only real knock I can give to the game is that it was slightly easy, at least until the last 2-3 chapters. I never felt I had to give the puzzles too much thought, but it can also be seen as a good because it kept me moving forward at a good pace, unlocking more cultural insights. But some more difficult, or at least more involved, puzzles could have added some length the game that would have been nice. While the length of the game does come in short, maybe 2-3 hours for a play through, Upper One Games was able to craft an experience that not only touched my heart, but was fun. Buy this game! Additional notes: With so much talk about diversity and sexism in games, I find it disappointing that this game isn’t trending. It doesn’t get much more diverse than this. A female main character, a opportunity to learn about a new culture where people of that culture are deeply involved in the games creation. This is what everyone wants from gaming, so stop talking just to hear your voices and support this title!!

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