Game Info:

Never Alone
Developed by: Upper One Games, E-Line Media
Published by: E-Line Media
Released: November 18, 2014
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Wii U, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Puzzle platformer
ESRB rating: E10 (Mild violence)
Number of players: 1
Price: $14.99

Let me tell you a story. This is a story that was told to me by Upper One Games and E-Line Media. It is the story of a young girl named Nuna and her best friend, a fox. She was a very clever girl, and a skilled hunter. One day, after a good hunt, a blizzard came up. After that came another blizzard. She was not afraid, though, and set out to find what was causing the blizzards.

This story is presented in the form of a platformer, and is an adaptation of an Inupiaq folk tale. The platforming elements are coupled with portions of the tale displayed in scrimshaw-style cartoons, and the narrator speaks in a wizened voice in the native tongue of the people who live in northern Alaska. The story is subtitled, and helps explain the flow of the action quite well. 

Never Alone

Strong Points: Wonderful graphics and music; great look at a little-known culture; challenging platformer without being abusively difficult
Weak Points: Voice acting seems off for the main character; some control issues; little replay value
Moral Warnings: Mild violence, including hunting; spirit animals and worship depicted

The player controls two characters over the course of the adventure. Nuna is stronger and can push heavy objects, and also wields a bola which can break certain barriers and awaken some spirits. Fox can fit through small gaps, leap farther and higher (including wall jumps), and can summon spirits to help lift the two to new locations. Often, both will need to use their skills in order to overcome their challenges. If one of the characters dies, the game will back up to the nearest checkpoint so the player can try again. The only problem I've encountered with the controls involved the bola – using the mouse, sometimes it proved difficult to aim. This could be frustrating when being pursued, but enough trial and error managed to get me through it. Also, there is no score, no time challenges, no collectibles (other than the videos) and no backtracking. Although the game provides several hours of gameplay – especially if the "Foxtales" downloadable add-on is purchased – there is little reason to replay the game once all the challenges have been completed and the documentary watched. 

The graphics of the game are quite beautiful, even if they are largely monotone. The animation is crisp and smooth, and the music to the game is quite lovely. The only flaw I found with the sound was the voice used by Nuna. The voice actress sounds like a grown woman with her cries of dismay, which is a contrast to the young girl's appearance. 

Never Alone
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 6/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

The game is coupled with a series of videos, which highlight different aspects of the Inupiaq culture and lifestyle. Most of the videos are unlocked as part of the gameplay, but a few are in hidden locations. In general, if you can find and touch an owl in the game, that owl will unlock a new chapter in the documentary. It couples well with the game, and can serve as a nice educational aspect of the entire experience.

The game is rated E10 for mild violence, and the rating fits well. When Nuna or Fox die, it's bloodless, and aside from a few small flecks that preclude the appearance of Nanuq the bear, there is no blood that appears in the game. The game also focuses heavily upon nature spirits and myth, which fits the culture of the Inupiaq people, but may be an unwelcome contrast to some Christian sensibilities. Finally, Nuna is a hunter, and some of the scrimshaw cartoons depict her killing animals and dragging them back to her village to feed her people. Again, this fits in well with the people of northern Alaska (with a practically nonexistent growing cycle, meat is the predominant food in that part of the world), but for those sensitive to animals and killing, they may find some of this disturbing. 

Never Alone has won several awards, and it's easy to see why. Developed in conjunction with cultural representatives, it serves as both an entertaining platform game and a tribute to a group of people that most know very little about. This game is definitely worth the price for those who enjoy puzzle platformers and learning about other cultures.


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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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