Review: Never Alone is a bit too cute

BY JORDAN RYDER | APRIL 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Some puzzle platforming, a bit of Inuit mythology, and a cute white fox. When I picked Never Alone up, I figured all of these together would make for a fun game.

I was wrong. 

The game starts off well enough, with a little girl named Nanu getting lost in a blizzard and being rescued by an Artic fox. The two become fast friends and go on a journey to find the source of the blizzard and restore balance.

The game is centered on exploring the myths of Inuit culture, and the development team even worked with Native Alaskan storytellers to learn the materiel. Once I started playing, I discovered that most of this is expressed through educational videos.

At certain points, a notification will pop up saying you have unlocked a video to view detailing ancient tribal beliefs and stories. I wish the materiel in the videos had been integrated more into the story rather than a series of short documentaries. It would have helped make the story more interesting. After the first half hour, I was bored and wondering how long I had to continue before I could switch over to something else.

Another reason for this is that the puzzles are very easy. In fact the most difficult part of the game is your AI companion. 

The game has a local two-player option, and I suggest you take it for two reasons. First, it will make things go much faster. The AI isn’t programmed to do anything but walk and jump by itself, so playing single player and switching between the two just makes things take twice as long. For example, if one is playing as the fox and they lower a ladder down so that Nanu can climb up, one must switch characters before Nanu can actually climb. 

The other reason that I suggest two players is that AI is incredibly dumb and more than once died and forced me to reset. If you are playing a section with enemies, then the AI character is going to die several times since they can’t be bothered to get out of harm’s way. But it’s worse than that. One time I reset because the AI screwed up a basic jump.

You know how goombas just fall off the edge in Mario? It was like that. 

On the whole this feels like a game to be played with a little kid. It’s better with a partner, not difficult, and educational. So I guess if you have or know a child that likes gaming you want to spend a few hours with then Never Alone is a good title.

Otherwise, 5/10.

Never Alone is developed by Upper One Games and is available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4,  Windows, OS X, and WiiU in June.

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