Xbox One Review: Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

A tale of an Eskimo girl and her Fox…

Never Alone is an indie game made with the insight of real Alaskan Natives, letting us know about their way of life through documentary style videos that unlock over the course of the game. The tale itself is of a girl named Nuna and a Fox that comes to rescue her from a bear attack. Even though they never speak, there’s an undeniable bond there that unites them throughout the harsh Arctic environment.
Nuna leaves her village to find the source of the blizzard that is tearing her village apart, while being chased by bears, spirits and an evil man who is obsessed with an item that Nuna has in her possession. At first, the game starts out simple as a standard platformer…but it does become tougher towards the end of the game, as I died many times through being crushed, missing jumps, freezing to death in icy water, getting grabbed by spirits and so on.

The game itself is only around 3-4 hours, but that’s because of the increased difficulty towards the end. If it wasn’t for that, it’d be around an hour or so less. I normally would hate games this short, but it felt like the right length for Never Alone. By that point I found myself aggravated with certain sections and I did come across a number of bugs that caused me to die through no fault of my own, which is always annoying.
It’s clear that the game is designed for co-op, as you have to switch between Nuna and Fox to complete puzzles, but some require great timing and switching back and forth slows that down. Also, the companion AI sometimes dies on their own, which resets the game to the checkpoint. Despite these grievances, I have to admit there’s a great level of charm to be found here…learning about the Alaskan Native way of life was really interesting and the tale of Nuna and her Fox was charming.

Visually, Never Alone has a nice look to it. But it is very basic and I did come across areas where the framerate plummeted, which is unfortunate. A narrator tells the tale throughout the game, but speaks it in their native language, but luckily subtitles are enabled.

The Verdict

I enjoyed Never Alone, I really did. I did however, come across a number of issues that frustrated me and made the experience less enjoyable than it could have been. Having said that, it is a charming outing and a nice insight into the way of the Alaskan Natives. I’d recommend it, but only if you can look past its flaws.