Foxtales is more of what I saw in Never Alone. Nuna and her arctic fox return in yet another story, this time as told by Panik, another Iñupiat responsible for compiling traditional stories of his people. Foxtales doesn’t stray from Never Alone’s formula, and you’ll see much of the same across its three different chapters. If you enjoyed the first, you’ll likely enjoy this – but if you’re still on the fence, here’s what I thought.
Foxtales casts aside the terrain-based platforming that was prevalent in the main game in favor of long kayaking and swimming sections. Nuna is once again the “tool-user” of the pair: she can row the kayak and throw rocks, but eschews the bolas. The fox doesn’t gain any new tools, and will continue with his pre-established function of wall-jumping and spirit guiding. The gameplay was again a bit tarnished: picking up stones doesn’t always register, and not always are you able to drop a stone overboard when on the kayak, instead just placing it back on the boat. Perhaps due to a lack of interactable spirits (the ones Nuna could hold on to) and the blizzards (which often glitched your jumps when you hit a ledge), I didn’t feel like there were as many moments where I had an undue death.
The water-based levels lend the game a fluidity (pun intended) that happened once or twice in the main game, like during the Tundra Meadow level (where you climb the giant while he hacks away at ice). Smashing ice, air-blowing spirits and mice hunting are spread among the one and a half, two hour experience that is the DLC.
Fortunately, five more of the documentary snippets can be found throughout the game, and the story is told in the same style – a narrator recounting the original tale in Iñupiat language. The Coastal Brothers, the story you play through this time, is shorter and was more in line with fables – it’s clearly a story to teach children not to toy and provoke animals.
Gameplay again feels a tad unpolished and as if the game would be easier if played in two. The core is still well delivered: you’ll be told a short story of Iñupiat origin and have supplementing Cultural Insights to teach you more of the Iñupiat culture and way of life. Foxtales is best described as a module of Never Alone, a side-story with slightly different mechanics but its heart at the same place.
Foxtales was played on retail code provided by the publishers.