Built in partnership with the Alaska Native community, Never Alone is an atmospheric puzzle platformer that explores the harsh and vibrant world of Alaska Native stories.
The player delves deeply into the traditional lore of the Iñupiat people of the Arctic through the character of a young girl Nuna and her snow fox.
This game can be played both by switching between companions through a press of a button or together with a partner. During the game the player can unlock documentary movies about the Iñupiat that the player can recognise back in the game. This game is without a doubt one of the most beautiful ‘serious’ games out there!
- Release date:
- January 27, 2020
How to play Never Alone
Accessibility for the visually impaired is fairly bad in this game.
First of all, while the game contains decent subtitles, all of the spoken language (and the game contains a lot of spoken language in both the game and the movies) is in an native Alaskan. Things (the story and movies) can only be followed if the subtitles are clear enough for the user. And while they are clear and normal sized for subtitles, they are not anything more than that.
Next to that the game itself contains very interesting contrasts that are quite beautiful but a lot of it are done in multiple shades of white, grey and light blue, including the fox character. While it gives most of us a beautiful rendition of the white world the Alaskan natives live in, it also doesn’t make a good kind of contrast for a player with problems with their vision to play.
Easily doable. The entire game contains subtitles since only one (Alaskan native) language is used in sound (and it is used a lot). Also, the amount of languages the player can have their subtitles in is fairly impressive. There are sound hints that help with the gameplay, like the sound of the wind that tells the player when it’s about to start up again and the sounds of enemies. And then there’s a lot of sounds that just add to the feel of both the culture that the game is made to describe and the game itself. All these things are handy and add something but in the end it is perfectly possible to finish the game and learn many things from it without the sound.
Best played with a partner. Most of the difficulties in handling and controlling this game come from the need to switch between the character one plays during play. For one, only the girl character needs the mouse (in the pc version) in order to play. When controlling only a single character and having someone else do the other the game becomes far easier to control. The fox is most recommended to players that have trouble with their hands.
Definitely playable for people without a very serious cognitive disability. The game teaches the player about a certain people and both the gameplay and the movies are possible to follow for people with the understandings level of kids of 10 years of age or higher. The documentary movies are each fairly short and interesting but not complicated and once unlocked the player can watch them as many times as they want in case they believe to have missed something. Often, the information provided in a movie appears in the world of the game afterwards in order to enrich it and impart the lesson again. The gameplay has it’s puzzles and is not so easy that it threatens to become boring but the difficulty level is such that it is almost impossible not to stumble over the solution at some point. Also, between puzzles there are usually long stretches of ‘travel’ that need very little thinking of the player. The most difficult part of the gameplay is in fact the amount of actions the player has access to with different buttons. These actions however, can be split in half by playing the game through 2 players. That would take away most of the difficulties.
One thing to improve, the instructions (tutorials) during the game are fairly clear but a way to call them back at any time in order to reread them would help.