Games of the Year

Never Alone

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Experience the epic journey of Nuna and Fox as they search for the source of an eternal blizzard that threatens the survival of everything they have ever known. Never Alone is an atmospheric puzzle platformer developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat, an Alaska Native people, drawn from a traditional story that has been shared across the generations. Guide both characters in single-player mode or play cooperatively with a friend as you trek through frozen tundra, leap across treacherous ice floes, swim through underwater caverns and face enemies both strange and familiar. (NOTE: Local co-op play requires at least one Xbox 360 or equivalent game controller). On over 75 "Best of 2014" lists and winner of "Best Debut Game" at the 2015 BAFTA Games Awards as well as "Game of the Year" and "Most Significant Impact" at the 2015 Games for Change Awards, nearly 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members contributed to the making of the game.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) is more than just a puzzle platformer but a cultural experience. It mixes gameplay with story-telling rooted deeply in the traditional lore of the Inupiat people of the Arctic. As your progress through the game you will unlock video insights that you can watch along the way.
You play the game as Nuna, a young native girl along side her lupine companion called Fox travelling along to find out the source of a raging blizzard and a strange man who destroyed her village. The skills of each character compliment each other as you traverse along and you can change between each character at the click of a keystroke. The game is also all controlled by keyboard (no mouse controls).
The message that Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) brings is about the connection between community and the individual, how the things that bind us together allow us to overcome seemingly impossible tasks. The importance that story-telling plays in a community as a teaching tool and preserving knowledge.
* I am 3 hours in and not finished the story yet so I feel a good game length will be reached for the full play time (but I watch the videos that unlock as I play the game as well).
A beautiful game that weaves a collection of insightful video clips of real people and their history into a fantastic gaming experience. 🐺

Review from Steam

It is somewhat difficult to recommend this game - however, if I said no to recommending it, it would break my heart to do so. It's rare that a game teaches you about a culture you never knew anything about, documentary-style, and gets you really invested in their lore. Using the medium of a video game to do so was genius and it flows beautifully because of the traditional allegorical storytelling that Native Alaskans and other First Peoples incorporate into their daily lives. I found myself really caring about the collectables, which were not too hard to find, because I wanted to see more of the film footage, documentary-style clips that accompany this game's menu. If you don't want to see them, however, it's optional unless you want achievements.
Speaking of achievements, for achievement hunters this is a pretty easy game to 100%. If you miss any collectibles, there is a chapter select feature. But now I get to the negatives. I played this game with a companion on Remote Play and while our lag can not be blamed on this game, the sometimes frustrating controls and platforming left us needing to take frequent breaks. There is an item called a Bola that one character must use to throw and knock down things such an ice blocks and it has no aiming reticule. A gamepad is recommended, yet aiming with the Bola becomes less natural with it, so it is up to personal preference.
Ultimately, if you are interested in foxes, Native history, and allegorical storytelling then this might be one to check out. If you're easily frustrating by finicky platforming and weird controls - while this game might be pretty easy - definitely get it on a big sale.
Check out Catizens Curations for more fox games and more!

Review from Steam

Sure the controls are not super responsive, but they are adequate enough. Sure the AI is abysmal if you let it alone -- but it is not too hard to lead it. Now, the graphics are very charming, the story is well told, and the little documentary-style videos are captivating -- I ended up 100% the base game with pleasure. And how else would I learn that auroras can take your head off and play football with it?
Score: 82/100.

Review from Steam

There is an unmatched importance to this title, and I have to go into this review with first saying I wholeheartedly believe everyone should play through Never Alone/Kisima Ingitchuna. It's been a long time since I played a game that felt IMPORTANT to play, let alone one that struck me emotionally within the first few minutes.
It gives accurate representation to Alaska Natives, with dozens of natives being interviewed and adding input into every direction of the game. There's educational interviews in each chapter, though they are passionate, from the natives' personal lives, and so interesting! I fondly recall a story a woman told of her older brother having to raise polar bear cubs after he killed the mother in self defense, and how the woman would ride them "like horses"! lmao
There's other gems in the interviews, like a man explaining how he can gauge how many inches down the ice levels are, and how they determine when ice will shift and it's time to move to a new area. Of course, mythological stories are also featured, and they're lovely. It was so cool to learn the true mythos origins of the Northern Lights, and that one I won't spoil---you have to hear it from the people themselves.
Alaska Natives rarely get representation within American culture even, so I think purchasing this game and giving it a play, especially when it has coop (perfect game for playing through with a gf tbh), is so needed! It doesn't feature any violence at all either, and there's no combat--just escapes from close encounters with polar bears or mythos creatures. It would be a great educational buy for parents, that is still fully a game and charming.
There is precision platforming in this, so if you're someone who enjoys walking simulators that tell a story, this won't be it. But I strongly encourage to try it anyway, the platforming and timing within the game makes sense. Alaska Natives deal with the harshest form of life, the worst predators, true and complete darkness, and even the ground below their feet is not trustworthy. This game features mechanics of shifting ground and blizzard winds that require precision, but it's used to tell the full story and I think was implemented well.
The story itself is a popular mythological tale in their culture, and it is edited slightly to incorporate other cultural references and stories within it. The original story also featured a man, one of the interviews revealed, but they wanted to give the representation and platform to a woman----which is think is so endearing and beautiful in itself, that people who receive such little representation in general still wanted that representation to be of their women. <3
I learned A LOT from this title, and after completing it, I rushed to tell my friends' some of the interview anecdotes I learned. It is a great game, I can't recommend it enough.

Review from Steam

+ engaging story based on folk tales
+ awesome snow/ ice/ water visuals & fantastic animation
+ eye-opening cultural insights
- horrible controls, especially the bola & chase/ running scenes
* get discounted on sale

Review from Steam

Great story, chill, fun and educational.
Only downside was, it was a bit glitchy.

Review from Steam

Fun game and enjoyed the story, especially since I'm from Alaska

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