Unavowed (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 04.01.2023

Review for Unavowed on Nintendo Switch

Wadjet Eye Games have built quite an impressive resume as both developer and publisher since hitting the scene in 2006. The studio's penchant for high quality point-and-click adventures has made most of its titles must-plays for genre fans. Taking place in the same world featured in Wadjet Eye Games' Blackwell series and The Shivah, Unavowed is an immersive adventure that mixes a gripping narrative with some heavy player interactivity. Beyond just pointing and clicking to solve puzzles and move the story along, it takes great strides in making the audience a part of the experience, featuring multiple backstories, endings, and storylines that bend to the player's will.

The point-and-click adventure genre is no stranger to strong storytelling, but Unavowed is on another level altogether. Although a single playthrough is relatively short (roughly taking anywhere between seven and ten hours to complete), how the actual narrative plays out changes depending on one's actions. Everything from dialogue options to pairing certain characters together, influences the plot's progression. The protagonist's own backstory and gender are selected naturally through conversation - details that naturally affect how party members interact with the player.

…Which in itself is worth mentioning. This is a point-and-click with an actual party system. Gameplay is divided between a total of seven cases where players can bring along different companions. Although there are a total of four party members, only two can be brought along each case. Every character has their own set of abilities that can be used to solve puzzles. Likewise, they have their own motivations and histories that flesh out the plot in unique ways. This keeps case progression dynamic, allowing audiences to come up with multiple solutions to a single problem.

The party shares strong chemistry no matter who's paired together, greatly raising the replay value. Everyone feels three dimensional with a proper place in the world. It helps that the cast is relatively small, leaving room for some great character development. Eli is a fire mage whose long life has disconnected him from his family; Mandana is a Jinn who can't fully come to terms with her human heritage; Logan is haunted by his brother's death, now capable of interacting with ghosts; Vicki is the most ordinary member of the group, a cop desperate to save her city when no one else steps up. All four characters grow over the course of the story, bantering with one another while offering unique insight into the plot's events. Amazing performances from the whole cast simply round out a thoughtfully considered group of characters.

Screenshot for Unavowed on Nintendo Switch

Gameplay itself is very fluid, wasting no time with trivialities. Simply hovering over an object or person on the script triggers an on-screen description that can be read without opening up a new screen. This makes examining everything in a single area a painless process. Holding down Y also brings up anything interactable, allowing players to quickly cycle between major beats with ease. Puzzles aren't too demanding, either. It's easy to solve everything just by paying basic attention to the plot and exploring thoroughly. The gameplay loop ends up moving at a great pace where audiences are never bogged down in one moment for too long. This also ensures that the story is always evolving, even in the most minor of ways.

Although clearly designed with a mouse and keyboard in mind, a traditional controller more than gets the job done. Touch controls are even included when playing undocked for those who care for the novelty. No matter the control scheme chosen, gameplay runs well on Switch. Initial load times are a bit on the long side when playing undocked, but not to the point where it hurts the experience. Regardless of the mode, the presentation pops both docked and handheld. Wadjet Eye Games know how to nail a title's atmosphere better than most studios.

Unavowed is extremely atmospheric, blending the noir with gothic horror. Rain is a regular occurrence, setting a moody ambience that never fades away. Thomas Regin's score can jump between jazzy, energetic, and introspective when necessary, granting pivotal moments greater emotional weight. Backgrounds are vibrant in their colour choices, but not so garish as to be bright. There's a darkness to Ben Chandler's art direction that perfectly matches the setting without feeling overbearing. Some of the imagery can be horrific, but it all serves to push the story forward. All the while, the script never shies away from depicting mature content or themes with tact. As far as point-and-click adventures go, Unavowed is in a league of its own.

Screenshot for Unavowed on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

It's no exaggeration to call Unavowed one of the most replayable point-and-click adventures the genre has seen. The sheer amount of decision making available to the player - from which characters participate in the plot to the protagonist's whole backstory - keeps every playthrough fresh. Although there isn't much in the way of demanding puzzle-solving, puzzles themselves have multiple solutions and the story can branch in different directions depending on who's in the party. In-game actions and dialogue options also have consequences, granting the plot a real sense of weight. Topped off by excellent atmosphere, a tight script, and great performances, Unavowed might just be Wadjet Eye Games' best work.

Developer

Wadjet Eye Games

Publisher

Wadjet Eye Games

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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