Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle, Platfiormer
Developer: Upper One Games, E-Line Media
Püblisher: E-Line Media
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Xbox One

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) – Review

Site Score
8.6
Good: Story, winter wonderland, co-op mechanics
Bad: Bola controls
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

As snow is starting to fall and the holidays are closing in, nothing will get you in the mood more than a game that’s pretty much all about snow. Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), a puzzle game that has been developed with the Inupiaq, an Alaska Native people, will certainly sweep you off your feet in a unique fairytale. Dress up warm, boys and girls, to plow through this subzero adventure.

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Story

Never Alone will grab hold of you and take you on a journey through a story that resembles either an old fairytale or an ancient folktale. It seems the beautiful scenery where the Inupiaq live is disturbed thanks to heavy storms that rage in the area, as well as the evil looters that have burned down the peaceful village.

You start the game as Nuna, a little Inupiat girl, that seems to be all alone, in the middle of a deserted snow plane, trying to find her way back to the village. Sadly, it seems she would have been a goner on her own because of a polar bear attack as well as the fact that the terrain is simply inhospitable for a little girl. Soon after, a beautiful white fox swoops in to save her from the polar bear as well as be her spirit guide throughout her incredible journey. Together they must try to find what’s causing these storms and stop the raiders from hurting even more people.

Overall the story is brought by traditional storytelling as well as cutscenes and snippets that seem to be directly out of an old storybook. Everything connects in just the right fashion, which makes the story quite loveable, even though it is actually quite simple.

Additional story value is to be found during your playthrough. You will come across small owls, which unlock extra clips, be it story or small documentary clips about the Inupiaq way of life.

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Graphics

Graphically you will notice that the game is not truly on par with the big next-gen titles but that being said, Never Alone still looks quite pleasing to the eye. Nuna and the fox both move quite gracefully, which makes them stand out from the winter wonderland in which they find themselves.

The areas in the game look fairly simple but have their own fun little details, be it destructible objects, the spirits you summon or simply the tons of snow you will have to wade through. Add the traditional looking spirits and other beings to the equation and you will only find more and more things that will feel ‘just right’.

Overall Never Alone will not wow you, but the simple, yet pretty style will certainly be more than enough to set the right atmosphere.

Sound

Kisima Ingitchuna will treat you to a very tranquil soundtrack. The background music will be soft and gentle, almost unnoticeable, yet empowering the overall mood the game is trying to set. Environment noises such as the wind feel a lot more important than they would feel during the course of any other game, which again shows how much this game is trying to set the right tone.

Seeing the story is told by a narrator, voice acting poses an important role to the overall atmosphere of the game as well. During your journey, you will be accompanied by a traditional Inupiaq elder voice, which makes the game that much more believable, as if it truly is one of their ancient stories.

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Gameplay

Never Alone is a true puzzle platform game and a decent one at that. You’ll be spending most of the time ingame, solving ‘simple’ puzzles and jumping from ledge to ledge with the occasional action scene to spice things up.

During your playthrough you will be controlling two characters, namely Nuna and the white (spirit) fox. Both have their own abilities, making sure that cooperation is a necessity in order to reach the end goal of the different chapters of the game. This means, you will have to switch between both characters all the time, if you’re playing solo. That being said, this makes a great mechanic for those who wish to play co-op.

At the beginning of the game Nuna feels quite useless compared to her furred counterpart. Nuna will only be able to jump, drag objects and that’s pretty much it. The fox will have to help her along the way in order for her to reach higher platforms by either throwing a rope down or summoning some of his spirit friends who serve as picturesque platforms.

As the game progresses you will find Nuna becoming more useful thanks to the ‘bola’ she will receive that will serve to fight enemies, break obstacles and so on. Other than that, the game does not offer a whole lot more to do than these basic mechanics.

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Whilst playing solo may not always prove to be that easy, seeing you will have to switch between characters all the time, it will never become truly bothersome. That being said, Never Alone feels as if it is designed to play with a friend, next to you. This makes the game even more appealing, seeing teamwork is the keyword of the entire game.

All is well in the snowy terrain that represents Never Alone, except for some control issues. Whilst most of the jumping and running around feels quite responsive, aiming and shooting the bola proves to be tricky and even frustrating at times. You will have to flick back the right stick in the opposite direction of where you plan to throw and after that you will have to press the stick towards the opposite direction. This often causes you to miss, making some seemingly easy targets hard to hit, especially in the heat of battle. Seeing the bola is also a very hard weapon to use in real life, this might have been an intentional choice of the developers, nonetheless a fairly frustrating one.

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Conclusion

Never Alone is one of those small gems that pop up now and then. Even with the fairly simple gameplay mechanics and a fairly short duration to go from the start to the finish of the game, you’ll be treated to qualitative content, fun looking characters and good old fashioned couch co-op action. Put on something warm, get a hot cocoa, put the lights of the Christmas tree on and you’re pretty much in for a treat.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

2 Comments

  1. […] The game continues on the story of Never Alone. The review of Never Alone can be found here. […]

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  2. […] You’ll need the base game in order to play this DLC. Be sure to check out our original review to learn more about the […]

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