Review by John Hellier
So, UnExplored -Unlocked Edition, I sense you and I are not going to be friends. I think it’s a conflict of interests and opinions, namely what our opinion is of a good game. Now from that opening I’m pretty sure you can guess my opinion of UnExplored from the get go, but let me go in to the reasons why once I get past the typical reviewer fluff. UnExplored is a top down fantasy RPG/Roguelike from Ludomotion. There, that’s enough of that, time to get to work.
First let me say that I appear to be in the minority, as other reviewers seem to like this game, but unfortunately this is my review and I definitely don’t. Like I said it’s probably me, if you’ve seen my past reviews you know what I like, and if you haven’t then go catch up, I will wait.
Back? Good, let’s continue. First, on the block are the menus. UnExplored (that’s it game, that’s the last time I go with your silly capital E) has a massive enthusiasm for menus. From the very start of the game, the devs seem to have picked the tiniest, most squint-inducing font to use, which wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren’t a million things to convey. This goes for in-game options too, trying to figure out how to check items and equipment is an unannounced eye test. Which brings us neatly on to my next gripe, controls.
I’m sure, like with every control system, that with enough repetition you get used to it. However, the need for all the unnecessary button pushes to navigate your inventory seems designed to cause an aneurism. This combined with the tiny font of the explanation prompts at the bottom of the screen means I had no inclination to play for the hypothetical amount of time to adjust. On more occasions then I can count did I randomly drop items while trying to get out of a menu. This is counteracted somewhat by the gameplay itself however, which uses no buttons.
Combat is a strange affair, where you don’t so much swing swords one such, you joust with them. This being a twin stick stabber of sorts, one stick controlling your movement, the other which way you are facing. OK technically you can do a slightly more damaging attack with a lunge, but this is often more of a hindrance than a help. After each successful poke your weapon has a weird cooldown so if said attack didn’t kill the enemy in question you get to stand around dumbstruck for a second whilst you… You know what, I can’t even think of a logical reason for that cooldown. You can also get the standard fantasy range of weapons, all of which handle about as well as you would expect. Why does the axe attack spin me around in a circle? What possible situation would a pirouette make sense in combat?
Graphically the game is quite interesting (hah! Bet you didn’t see a compliment coming) in so much as it has a craft paper, d&d style vibe going on. No high-end textures and cutting edge modelling here, which to the game’s credit it pulls of reasonably well. I say reasonably because a little more effort could have gone into it, having weapons be represented by diamonds is more than a little lazy. Enemies too have this cutout look to them, all flat and monotone with limited animation. This, of course, is a double-edged sword, as half the time you can’t really tell what it is you are trying to poke out of existence.
Now on the topic of graphics, I’d like to ask the creators a serious question. When designing a shape to represent your character, you made a blob to resemble the top of a head of hair, and some accompanying shoulders. Fine, but whose idea was it to put an eyeball on the top of the head, and have they since been sectioned? Honestly, this goes beyond immersion breaking and straight to stupid central. With the limited visuals you paint in details for yourself, which is immediately shattered when the thing on your head, which your brain filled in as a hat, blinks!
Now I could go on some more, about how the roguelike element is completely unexplained, or how every potion and magic spell you pick up needs to be identified, so you never wish to try them in case what you hoped was a healing draught turned out to be a poison, or worse the spell you randomly cast turned out to be a one use identify scroll. But I think you get the picture by now, and my legs getting tired from the constant kicking.
So should you buy Unexplored? Well if you are me then no, but then again I have strange tastes. If you like d&d and fantasy, and you have a patience span long enough to get in to the game, then go for it, and God bless you for being a stronger gamer than I.
Overall Score – 3/10
Aesthetically intriguing, but let down by being harder to get in to than a nuns knickers