Never Alone just received an expansion called Foxtales, and we explore both the original game and its addon story in our review.
Never Alone may look like a platform game in the same vein as Limbo, but there’s a big difference that makes the Never Alone experience unique – its strong emphasis on storytelling is unrivalled in the puzzle platform genre. Limbo may be just as atmospheric, but Never Alone – and its newly released addon Foxtales, transcends the realm of mere video games.
The game focuses on the ancient stories of a tribe of Alaskan natives; stories which are full of lore that was passed on through generations and are still being told by the Inupiat – who contributed heavily to the game’s development. This goes from the actual game development right down to the extensive extras, including video interviews with members of the Inupiat tribe.
Translating these stories into a game format is of course a challenge, but Never Alone does a good job walking the thin line between game and story. In the original game, you play as Nuna and Fox – a young girl and her fox – trying to overcome a wide range of (environmental) puzzles in order to put an end to an eternal blizzard that threatens the lives of their people. Spirits help you on your quest as well, taking you through diverse scenery as you go. In Foxtales, you set out to defeat a giant shadow rat – and water elements play a much larger role than they do in the main campaign.
The theme of spirits that can help you returns in Foxtales, as does their connection to the elements. The fact that water plays a more crucial role here means that the spirits here can affect water currents to move obstacles out of your way, just to name an example. The narrative is more important than the puzzles though – and the story is told using recordings in the native language of the Inupiat, which adds even more atmosphere to the nice visuals. Oh… yes, there are subtitles.
Without giving too much away in regards to the story and puzzle solutions, we found that Foxtales is a worthy expansion to Never Alone. An enriching one, would be the best way to describe it. This is a game that leaves an impression beyond the scope of the game itself, and that’s a feat worth remembering. It may not be groundbreaking in terms of gameplay design, but the experience crafts a wonderful story worth telling.