Never Alone has recently launched on the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV and, once you’ve played this beautiful game for a few minutes, you will soon realize why it snapped up the 2015 BAFTA Award for Best Debut Game. Not only is this genuinely unique interactive entertainment of the finest sort, it is also a deeply enjoyable learning experience. Which is not something we often see or play.
So why is it so good? What does it do that other family-friendly titles don’t? Here are three things you need to know about Never Alone, which are solid reasons why this is one of the better family games you can play on the Nvidia Shield.
Never Alone teaches you tons of stuff you never knew about Alaskan native life and history, as the game was created via a unique partnership between a group of over 40 elders and storytellers from the Alaskan Native community and a group of veteran game developers, keen to expand the community’s stories and folklore into a highly playable interactive experience. At no point does playing Never Alone feel like a forced history lesson, with the 30 minutes of “cultural insight” video interviews that are interspersed throughout the game being genuinely interesting and integral to the flow of the gameplay.
The charming storyline in Never Alone is based around a young girl named Nuna and her friend, a Fox, as they find their merry way through the icy tundra, leaping over gaps, climbing up ropes and walls and learning how to make the most of each other’s skills in order to progress through each stage of the game.
In single-player mode, you can switch between each character when needed – to make the most of Nuna’s climbing ability, bolo-throwing skills and (relative) strength and Fox’s aptitude for jumping and climbing up walls. But the real joy is when you play co-op with a friend or family member, figuring out the best way to help each other along the way.
Never Alone is the first game in an entirely new genre – which the developer refers to as “World Games”. The fact that the members of the Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) – an Anchorage-based non-profit organization providing educational and social services to Native Alaskans – came up with the idea and storylines for this game is key in understanding this incredibly exciting concept.“World Games” are essentially games that tell stories about such unique (and often culturally marginalized or threatened) communities in the format of great video games. They are, by their very nature, educational and socially progressive. But first and foremost, they are incredibly well designed games which usually come with great gameplay and memorable characters.
Never Along is available for both the Nvidia Shield Android TV and the Shield Tablet for $14.99 and there are no additional IAPs.