After a long war with the humans, the few androids that remain in Arcadia are running out of Anima, the energy that gives all robots consciousness.
Reviews View More
This top down pixel art action adventure game borrows elements from Zelda and adds a twist with a countdown mechanic to keep pressure on the player resulting in a fun, well paced game. Unsighted takes place in a world where humans have started a war on androids who have outgrown their original purpose to start living in their own society and build families. The last of the humans use some ancient artifact to destroy the source of the androids power, anima, now all androids are slowly dying.
You play a powerful warrior android, Alma, who’s goal is to recover 5 gems to access the weapon and shut it down but the catch is you and every single NPC in the game is on a death timer. Every person has a different time some will last many hours, others have two or three to live. As you explore the world there are treasures called Meteor dust that give 24 hours more to live to anyone you give it to. Don’t forget to save some for yourself if you need it, or your personal robot fairy companion (this games Navi, or you can just let her die you horrible person!) If an NPC dies their store or whatever service they provided is closed off.
If that sounds extremely stressful well it can be if you let it. The truth is the time mechanic isn’t all that interesting and it’s really a clever way to simply have shops you can upgrade. Every NPC has a heart meter, 4 hearts in total, each time you give dust to one the heart goes up by one as well as their time. Each time a bonus happens like a store discount. If you max it out most everyone has a unique item they give you. Some give you a portable version of their store like a portable crafting table or portable blacksmith meaning once you max them out you don’t need them alive anymore. Everyone has so much time and there is so much dust to find that in reality all you are really doing is deciding which bonus items you want. If characters die nothing that serious happens, the story doesn’t change much. A few NPCs might say a different line or two. In the ending you just don’t see them living happy. So in reality that unique mechanic is mostly for show.
What really stands out is the level design which is Zelda like in its execution. Each of the five gems are housed in a certain dungeon like location where you will solve puzzles, find a new unique item that is used to advance through the dungeon and fight a boss. I found these dungeons to be varied enough with decent enough puzzles to really keep me entertained throughout. Some items you earn are familiar like a hookshot, a boomerang, and even a spinning top that you use to grind rails like in Twilight Princess. Clearly the creators of this game borrowed heavily from Zelda and while it never reaches the highs of Zelda dungeons they are a good enough approximation to make for some high quality level design.
Where it does shy from Zelda is in the combat as this game has more in common with other pixel art top down games like hyperlight in that it’s fast paced and deals a lot more with counters and timing. I found the heavy emphasis on countering to be a detriment, in some battles there is just too much happening on screen to notice the red flash of an enemy attack and having to time the party at the right moment just to get a massive counter in (which is by far the best way to do damage). Even dealing with multiple enemies it becomes frustrating especially if two different attacks come in consecutively which doesn’t allow the small parry cooldown to reset in time. While there are customizable “chips” that can adjust cooldowns, stat bonuses and so on I didn’t ever really feel it changed the fundamental way you do battle which is mostly timing parties and going in for attacks between enemy attacks. Of note this game has melee and ranged weapons so you can be slashing and shooting at the same time but the reloads happen so frequently and you must manually hit the button that I found myself just focusing on parrying.
The combat isn’t bad, some of the enemies are well throughout and the boss battles are generally very fun to fight. There is the dark souls penalty for death where you need to run back to your spot of death to retrieve money, also dying means more time off the clock so there is tension and the difficulty is at a good balance of being just hard enough. I just never found the combat compelling enough to feel like I wanted to master it. Though I bet for some it’s a game completionists and speed runners dream of, it offers all the tools for a great game to master, I bet there are some incredible no hit speed runs online, but for me this games combat doesn’t entice me to play more than once.
To round out the package there is a rogue like mode where you are sent to one of the games dungeons but randomized with a random starting item and you can buy new ones as you go. There is also the classic boss rush mode as well. There are two neat bonus modes that make the game have more replay value but again I was satisfied with one play.
Unsighted is well worth your time if you are a Zelda fan like me or are just interested in unique action adventure indie games. It moves at a great pace with constant new items and locations. I personally didn’t find the countdown mechanic to be over bearing, it felt more like a unique way to make NPCs and the world matter more. The ending seems to hint at more to come, I think this is a very good first effort that with some polish can be a really special franchise.
Overall score: 7.8
Unsighted is probably the best game of 2021 that you haven’t heard of. Where other games like it would be content to deliver a very carefully crafted and strongly guided experience to the player and leave lot of people satisfied, Unsighted opts to do the unthinkable: It just lets loose.
This top-down action game see you explore a world, beat up some enemies, solve some light puzzles and find ways to travel to your destination, not unlike Zelda. After a short prologue that shows you the ropes of combat and sets up the narrative and world, you find yourself in an overworld where an NPC marks the five McGuffins you have to find on the map. And then you can just do whatever you want. Yes, absolutely whatever you want. After I collected the first traversal item (a pair of high jump boots), I was apprehensive and thought the game might lead me through a predetermined sequence of events, just taking me along for the ride while actually orchestrating everything itself.
Stubborn as I am, I looked at my options and set out, determined to do the last dungeon first and to fall on my face in that endeavour. I did not. While the game would not let me just waltz right into the hardest dungeon, I just happened to stumble upon an item which let me traverse the overworld map in ways that clearly skipped the normal sequence of events, but the game did not do so begrudgingly, it openly handed me this weapon with a wink and told me to wreak havoc. This was the moment I knew I was in for something special. Instead of just heading to each dungeon, I largely explored the overworld map and I was thoroughly fascinated with the fact that I was very clearly just circumventing all the Zelda-esque traversal puzzles with my new-found weapon.
While there is a clear intended progression order and reliance on some dungeon items, it is also almost always possible to circumvent any given traversal block with some path you haven’t found yet. There are always multiple paths to your destination, and you probably can take half of them. But the true genius of Unsighted lies not only in the map design or the availability of items that let you just skip things, no. The game even has hidden movement techniques that let you further skip puzzles and obstacles in the overworld. At this point, a comparison to Super Metroid is inevitable: Yes, these optional movement techniques have the same versatility and sense of discovery that a shinespark and a walljump in that game grant you. A comparison between these games ends up making Unsighted see eye to eye with the search action juggernaut - that is a highly impressive feat in itself. You can legitimately play this game and explore its dungeons like you would for one of the classic Zelda games if you follow the intended progression sequence, but you can also play it like me and just blow caution to the wind. I am impressed how well the game manages to deliver on both of these types experiences, depending on which you opt for.
Another feature immensely helping the game’s openness on replays is the crafting system. While anybody who has played any video games in the last 10 years will probably just roll their eyes at this particular phrase, Unsighted surprises with another great idea: What if you could, on future playthroughs, just craft the dungeon items? This game does the unthinkable and lets you – as far as I know – craft almost all weapons and items at the crafting table, and that includes the dungeon items that are used for traversal. You just need to know the recipe. Not only does this mean that you could access the whole map from the start if you wanted to, it also means that you can make a choice on future replays. Do you want to abuse the crafting system or do you want to have another exploratory playthrough? Almost every facet of this game facilitates its openness, and that isn’t even going into how keys and key doors are designed and placed in this game, which gives you another layer of choice for your traversal of the map.
The combat in this game plays like a mix between Dark Souls and Hyper Light Drifter. You can do melee attacks or shoot with a gun. The weapons all have different attributes, and there are a multitude of viable strategies to approach combat. The equivalent of the estus flask, the syringe, fills up when you hit enemies. You have a stamina meter and you can dodge or block/parry enemy attacks. You can also equip “chips” that increase different attributes like number of bullets or weapon strength, as well as some with more specific effects, like a chip that makes the syringe fills slowly on its own. Weapon and chip choice leads to a lot of customizability and this customizability is what makes combat (theoretically) very satisfying and varied. My main strategy was to equip a machine gun and an axe so I could stunlock enemies with the gun while selectively doing big damage. One of the main problems here is that for stronger enemies parry and countering is such a disproportionally easier and quicker strategy than everything else, that the game turns into parry fishing on many of the bosses and mini-bosses - the parry counter also results in your stamina recharging and syringes being filled quicker than with normal attacks, making it an even better option. It’s a shame too, because only 2 of the bosses don’t let you fish more parries much, and that showed me what exhilarating combat the game is capable of when you don’t feel the need to parry everything to do any sort of substantial damage. I would have preferred a system where the moment-to-moment combat with normal attacks was the focus while making the parry feel more like an optional mechanic.
The last large facet of the game is the timer system. This game not only has a timer for your exploration, but for every NPC, so if you bumble about for too long in your adventure or just die too often to the enemies and bosses, you will be left with a barren world without shops or people to talk to. Even your small Navi-like companion can die after some time. The only way to alleviate this is to give these people (or yourself) the meteor dust that has been distributed in copious amounts across the map. If you extend an NPCs life three times they will give you a special item that fits their function and character. This can range from gaining new chips to acquiring things like a portable forge that lets you upgrade weapons anywhere as long as you have the money. The timer system does make exploration more stressful, but also more rewarding. The meteor dust is really hidden everywhere, and you will likely not feel helpless in the face of the time limit (even if I lost 3 NPCs to this system). On the difficulty I played – normal – the timer was just generous enough, considering how often I died and how many detours I made.
Other than my single qualm about the parry in combat, Unsighted’s gameplay comes together beautifully, and additionally to the great gameplay, it is also just visually stunning and the soundtrack is a treat, setting the mood for intrigue and action during exploration and combat segments. The all-female main cast is also inherently a big plus, because you just don’t see it very often in this medium.
This review has gone on for long enough, and what else can I even say? This game can measure up in all regards to explorative titans like Super Metroid. It is just as replayable, speedrunnable and enjoyable in all modes of play. If you like exploration in games, you will very likely love this game, and it’s a unique blend of different genres that will make me remember it fondly and replay it just as often as I do with my other favorite search action games.
Slammed this start to finish in three days on normal, then immediately started a NG+ and got the true ending on hard mode. The extremely approachable Zeldaesque structure pairs perfectly with a combat system deep enough to rival any 2D game. Although the character progression doesn't operate in terms of levels and stats, it captures the RPG feeling of being able to choose between multiple builds to suit your playstyle or the needs of a particular fight.
The main thing that sticks in my craw a bit about this game is the timer system. I'm not going to say it's bad, because it certainly creates a strong emotional bond between you and the characters who are depending on your swift action to survive. But it does work at cross-purposes to the core search action loop of exploring every nook and cranny, which this game clearly encourages by hiding goodies everywhere. I ended my first playthrough much sooner than I really wanted to mostly because I didn't want all of my friends to die.
It's almost as though there are two different games here: the one in which you carefully balance time as a resource to keep your friends alive, and the one where you try to uncover everything. Fortunately the game allows you to disable the timers, and I think doing so makes the game different, not worse.
Sin innovar, consigue exprimir lo mejor de sus referentes.
- El movimiento es ágil, el combate es ágil, cada nueva mejora hace más ágil el juego... es puro dinamismo.
- La dinámica contrarreloj para salvar la vida del resto de personajes añade un toque mayor de preocupación por el contexto en el que te inserta el juego.
- El mapeado es muy grande, variado, lleno de secretos y está muy bien interconectado.
- Pese a tener debilidad por los pixel-arts, este no es de los más trabajados.
- La música apenas tiene variaciones a lo largo del juego.
- La estructura es clásica a más no poder, sin un mínimo giro de tuerca.
it's ridiculous how much there is in this game. really cool build diversity, enormous amount of movement freedom and tech, captivating environment/dungeon choices, tons of interconnected paths that make swapping between linear and exploratory progression very natural. the music is great, the factory music especially is one of my favorite dynamic music tracks i've heard in a game. sometimes i felt like some of the gameplay tone was going to tear apart the game's tone, but somehow I don't think it did - the story and time limits and etc really did get into me. if i could, i would be replaying this already on a different route (unfortunately, hand pain).