Never Alone is a side scrolling platformer about a young girl named Nuna and her arctic fox companion. Nuna is traveling into the cold tundra alone to search for the cause of an unusual blizzard assaulting their village.
You can switch between Nuna and the fox as you travel the arctic lands. Nuna can pull heavy objects while the nimble fox can climb up walls and through narrow passageways. The fox can also interact with the spirits of the spirit world in order to help Nuna get to some otherwise inaccessible areas.
The game play is pretty simple. The game doesn’t have any overly challenging sections or mechanics. You can switch between Nuna and the fox with a press of a button or play the game in co-op mode and have another person control the fox. For example, in the beginning of the game, one segment may have you switch to the fox, climb up an icy wall, and let down a rope for Nuna to climb. After this you’ll have to switch back to Nuna and climb up the rope to get to the next area. You don’t have to switch back and forth constantly however. For the areas with simple jumps, the game will move the other character for you so you can continue with the platforming uninterrupted.
As a side note here, I did have a little bit of a struggle with the Switch controls for the game. For some sections, the character ran much too slowly for some reason, resulting in many deaths. The bolas were also a bit hard to aim accurately. You could chalk it up to my inexperience with the game but I will write a small note here just in case anyone else shares the same frustrations.
The game slowly adds in more mechanics, such as interacting with different spirits to get to the next area. The spirits simply act as moving platforms once the fox is near them. The game also gives Nuna a pair of bolas. The bolas can be used to destroy obstacles or get spirits to show up when the fox cannot reach them.
The game has some chase sequences where you are running away from a polar bear or a mysterious and rather unkempt antagonist who is searching for the bolas that Nuna holds. These sequences can be a bit challenging because you have to use the bolas to destroy obstacles before the enemy catches up to you. The switch controls definitely don’t make this as easy as it could be.
The game also features some interesting shorts from a documentary like film featuring interviews with the Alaskan Iñupiat. It opens a small window into another world and it was an educational experience. I actually wanted longer videos as the interviews were genuinely interesting.
The game felt pretty solid to play. It wasn’t too challenging for me other than some boss sequences where I kept dying because the character was moving too slowly. The level segments are cut up into nice bite size chunks so you can play in small bursts if you want to. I genuinely enjoyed watching the interviews and wish there were more.
Overall, Never Alone is a solid puzzle platformer that does more than just entertain. It has some actual educational materials that are interesting and provide a deeper look into another part of the world.