Published on August 23rd, 2018 | by Michael Newman0
One of my earliest point-and-click adventure memories was playing the original King’s Quest on my friend’s Apple IIC computer. It was one of the very first games that allowed a player to control a character on the screen and interact with other characters and items using a keyboard and joystick (mice existed but were a long way away from being adopted as the main input device on a computer). At that time, text adventures were still the kings of the role-playing world so interacting with an animated character to solve a quest was something new and exciting. King’s Quest and games like it spawned an entire genre of games from publishers such as Sierra Online and Lucas Arts that dominated the late 80’s and early 90’s. By the mid 00’s this genre had almost entirely disappeared, much to my dismay. Thankfully, retro has become all the rage and what was once old is new again. There is now a resurgence of remastered and original point-and-click games, and one of those game is Unavowed by Wadjet Eye.
When you begin Unavowed you are given the option of what character you wish to play. Do you wear a badge as a police detective? Serve up Long Island Iced Teas as a Bartender? Or is acting more your style? The character you choose will impact how you will interact with other characters and solve puzzles as you progress through the game. Once you choose your character and your name you are instantly thrust into the gritty streets of New York, in a time where Demons, Mermaids, and Ghosts are not only real, but the characters you will regularly interact with. You are one of the Unavowed, a secret organization that seeks out paranormal events and attempts to save the world.
The game is played in traditional point-and-click style. You have a cursor that you use to interact with the different people and objects on the screen. Your inventory bar is hidden at the top and you use it to utilize your partners or the items in your possession. You will be presented with numerous puzzles such as locating a key to unlock a door or using your partner’s special abilities to advance the story. The puzzles are never particularly difficult, and usually can be solved by retracing your steps, or if need be you can speak to another character who will provide you a clue as to what to do next. The puzzles are one area where Unavowed truly shines, as none of the puzzles are so obscure that you need to dial a hint line to find the answer to (a little throwback for those of you who remember a time before the internet when you actually had to pay to get a hint).
The voice acting is performed brilliantly. Not only do each of the characters sound convincing in their roles, but they also carry on side conversations throughout your mission. This helps to build an immediate connection with the characters and brings each of their own unique personalities to life. Between the acting and the beautiful retro inspired graphics, the grim story of paranormal murder and mystery is brought to life before your eyes. Unavowed maintains its sense of charm and intrigue throughout the entire adventure, keeping a very even pace and never making a problem too complex that it grinds the entire adventure to a halt.
I’ve always loved point-and-click adventures and am so happy that this genre is making a comeback. Unavowed sets the bar for how to make a modern-day point-and-click adventure that maintains the nostalgia and charm for those who enjoyed them back in the 80’s and 90’s while also making the content new and interesting. The story is fascinating (even disturbing in some areas), the characters are easy to connect with, and the gameplay is easy to pick up and learn. I never realized how much I missed the genre until I played this game, but now it has me wanting to go back to some of my old Sierra Online titles just to see if I have gained enough wisdom to complete them. Unavowed is one of my new favorite games and is well worth it’s price. Lucky for me that I can play through the game over and over again with all the different characters. Hmm, I wonder how a bartender will survive in this paranormal world? I am going to go right now and find out!
What I liked: Inspired story, Beautiful retro graphics, Branching storyline based on character
What I liked less: Occasionally difficult to find what you are looking for on the screen
4.5 out of 5 stars