Never Alone was developed by Upper One Games and E-Line Media and published by E-Line Media. It was released on November 18, 2014 for $14.99 on Xbox One. A copy was provided for review purposes.
Do you remember the arrival of the first tightly crafted indie Xbox sidescroller that disproved the notion that a Big Developer with a Big Budget was needed to create games of the highest quality? Neither do I, and that’s because it’s an event guilty of such unrestrained reproduction that it’s hard to recall its inaugural occurrence. Was it the release of Limbo? Mark of the Ninja? Braid? Something else? Regardless of what game kicked off this most welcome — even if now slightly clichéd — trend, it’s seemed apparent since its announcement that Never Alone would be the next game to continue the movement.
Its pretty graphics, intriguing setting and story aspiring to teach players something new caused many to think that Never Alone would be the next big little game. Maybe that’s an unfair burden to have placed on it. Maybe gamers should have instead anticipated only a game that would deftly introduce them to a culture that was heretofore both underrepresented and misrepresented in popular media. Certainly Never Alone does just that, offering a glimpse at the Iñupiat people’s ways that’s worth seeing. But while Upper One Games and E-Line Media have wonderfully succeeded in educating their audience, they’ve come up disappointingly short in entertaining it.
Upper One Games is beginning a new frontier by combining Native Alaskan cultural storytelling with interactive gaming this fall with Never Alone. Never Alone follows a young girl who must find a …