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January 24 2015
Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
26/11/2014E-Line MediaE-Line MediaUpper One Games1-2None
Media HDD Install Resolution Touchpad Sony Exclusive OFLC Rating

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Never Alone is a rather unique title.
The first time I saw a trailer for Never Alone in April last year it immediately grabbed my attention due to the gorgeous visuals, narration in the native tongue, and some fun looking gameplay with a young girl and a white Arctic Fox trying to survive in the harsh Alaskan landscape. As time went on however we forgot about the title, and didn't even realise it was released in the pre-Christmas crush of games. Tick over the New Year and we finally have a chance to check out this download-only title.

In Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) you play as a young Iņupiat girl and an arctic fox as they set out to find the source of the eternal blizzard which threatens the survival of everything they have ever known.

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While simplistic the visuals are gorgeous.
While the storyline in this game is pretty simplistic the game is underpinned by short video clips that include interviews and footage of the Iņupiat people of Alaska, which details their culture. It's great quality footage and short enough to never become tiring. When it comes to the actual gameplay you play as both a young girl, and the Arctic Fox. As you progress through the levels you can switch between the two and will often need to in order to solve the many challenges and puzzles presented throughout the game. The fox, for instance, is faster and more agile so can run up walls and jump greater distances while the girl can move large objects such as crates to jump to higher platforms.

The game isn't just a basic platformer, there are moments when you will need to brace yourself against gusts of wind, while that wind can also be used to jump longer distances to platforms not normally reachable. At times the Fox will also be used to awaken spirits and create platforms for the girl to use.

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Looking at the waterfall above.
In what is becoming an increasingly rare inclusion in games Never Alone allows a second player to jump into the game so each player takes control of one of the two characters for some local co-op fun. Disappointingly there is no option for online gameplay.

While it's not game-breaking we did have some issues with the controls at times with some imprecise movements, and even more annoying if playing single player the AI controlled character occasionally gets stuck (we're not including the intentional moments when you need to switch characters as a part of gameplay) but sometimes the character goes all glitchy. While there is a variety in the gameplay and platforming, it really isn't until the second half of the game that it ramps up to anything remotely challenging, but with generous checkpoints you'll never need to replay large sections of the game. Finally Never Alone isn't a long game at around 4-5 hours so the value (the game launched here for $22.95) has to be questioned somewhat.

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Never Alone has pure platforming action.
Running on the Unity Engine, Never Alone is certainly a unique, often gorgeous looking title which captures the hardships of living in the Arctic. From the frozen landscapes, to chilling wind gusts, wooden platforms to icy cold water it is all captured in this game and runs at FullHD 1080p resolution, albeit with very occasional, minor, screen-tearing.

Another key component to the visuals are the 24 video clips that are unlocked as your progress through the game which given an insight into the Alaskan Native culture. While there was very occasional synching issues these clips are not only technically impressive, but also quite interesting and a credit to this release.

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The cut-scenes are also gorgeous.
Audio in the game is dominated by dialogue recorded by a master Iņupiat storyteller in the Iņupiaq language. It gives the game an authentic feel and is great to hear the words spoken in the native tongue. Before you ask, there is no option for an English dubbing. Sound effects and music too are handled impressively giving an overall impressive sound quality.

Where this game excels is with the storytelling and the way in which the game is used as an educational tool. It's a bit shorter than we were hoping for but, while it lasted for around 3 hours, Never Alone was an enjoyable experience.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSNot pushing the PS4 to it's limits, but this is a clean, often gorgeous looking game that conveys the harshness of the Alaskan landscape perfectly.
SOUNDIt's great to have the native language, and the sound effects and music impress too.
GAMEPLAYIt's pretty basic for the first half, but the latter stages have some great platforming moments. Occasional glitches though.
VALUEAt $22.95 it's over priced, but pick it up on special as it's worth a look if the subject is of interest.
OVERALLNever Alone is a great concept that combines gameplay and educational experiences. Not as groundbreaking as we hoped the first time we saw a trailer, but a soldi release.

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