Nuna and Fox have returned in this the first expansion to the 2014 award winning indie hit Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna).
Never Alone, and of course now Foxtales, are based on Alaskan Native stories. Never Alone was based on the tale of Kunuuksaayuka. Foxtales draws from another of these amazing stories, casting Nuna and Fox in a new adventure inspired by the tale of the two coastal Brothers.
Spring has finally arrived and Nuna and Fox can’t wait to get out and have fun after being cooped up during the harsh winter months.
The two friends begin by chasing an Arctic Mouse, but the mouse is too quick for the pair so they jump into their Umiaq (a sealskin canoe) to try and catch up. Most of the gameplay in Foxtales takes place while in the canoe and a lot of the puzzles revolve around finding a way to remove obstacles from the canoes path.
Teamwork is the key just as in the original game, Fox is required to swim and use his powers to communicate with the spirit helpers underwater in order to move currents. The currents either help the boat to get out of tricky situations fast, or assist the pair in safely traversing underwater dangers.
Nuna is also provided with special rocks from spirits above the water which can be used to break through underwater spirit walls and create new paths for the pair to continue through.
The puzzles were mostly easy to figure out, with just the odd one that required a bit more thinking as a current would have to be moved quickly by Fox after Nuna had thrown one of the rocks in the water, blowing the rock in the correct direction.
The pair face a foe in the guise of a giant mouse and the currents are then used as a way of moving him from one location to another on the screen to enable you to pass, as he doesn’t like it when the current goes near him.
Just like in the original game, as you go around you also find owls which unlock five new Cultural Insight videos, featuring members of the Alaskan Native community including the family of Willie Panik Goodwin Sr, the story teller, who’s tale of The Two Coastal Brothers inspired the game.
Visually the game is a lot more brighter and cheerful than the first with it being set in springtime, the first game featured snow storms and blizzards whereas Foxtales has bright blue skies, which helps to show off the sparkling towering icebergs. The animations are very smooth from the rowing of the canoe, climbing up the icebergs to Foxes effortless swimming underwater.
The sounds in the game immerse you in this icy wilderness. The lapping of the sea, the crunching of footsteps on the snow to the sound of the icebergs breaking and tumbling into the ocean. One of the sounds you try to avoid hearing by being extra careful on tricky parts, is the yelp that Fox makes if you are controlling Nuna and accidentally fall from a great height or succumb to a watery whirlpool, it’s heart breaking! Also the narration is spoken in Iñupiaq and subtitled which ensures you are reminded of the authenticity and keeps you absorbed in the story.
Check out the trailer below –
For all you achievement hunters out there you get a total of 75g for completing all the chapters and 100g for finding and viewing all the cultural insights.
The game is playable either single player, switching between the characters by pressing Y or by local co-op. I did have an issue twice when playing single player where I had to switch to the other character to get it to follow me and also once they didn’t manage to make a jump and ended up into the sea, causing me to have to try that part again.
The only real disappointment I had with Foxtales was that the game was fairly short. Just over 2hrs (would have been less, if I had realised on one part I was actually able to move the spirit further than I thought!). Having said that the game is just an expansion after all that I enjoyed playing and is very cheap at £3.19. You can find the game here in the Xbox Store.
Although short, for £3.19 Foxtales is great continuation of the game for Never Alone fans. It is a another insightful look at the tales of the Alaskan Natives, that show tales of courage, bravery, working together and friendship. It is a great puzzle game and a must for people that enjoy a game with heart.