Keep This Game Unexplored
The recipe for Unexplored: Unlocked Edition sounds fantastic on paper – take the procedural level generation of a roguelike and merge with twin-stick shooter combat. Like a cook in the kitchen, sometimes recipes don’t turn out no matter how great their ingredients are.
The first problem with Unexplored is the misleading and lacking presentation. Looking upon the title’s main cue card makes the viewer assuming they are going to be going on a grand hack n’slash adventure as a dwarf through dimly lit caves. Instead, the player plays as a limbless blob that still somehow manages to make footstep sound effects upon movement even without legs. Sure, this is a smaller indie game but the presentation leaves so much to be desired from character design to environmental assets. The included character creator doesn’t help when you are putting lipstick on a pig. It is like the old Atari 2600 games, where box art features some glorious displays of design but then the player is treated with in-game visuals that do not match expectations.
Even if the visual department received an upgrade, it still wouldn’t help the sore gameplay. With a crowded UI and cumbersome control scheme, gameplay is a mess at best. Navigating the inventory screen with touchy d-pad controls, tiny text, and unexplained descriptions, makes gameplay a chore and annoyingly confusing. This is doubled by the fact this game is designed to kill you and kill you good. Starting with only a short ranged dagger, players will probably never get to experience the other obtainable weapons since the player starts each quest drastically underpowered. Using the right trigger makes the player lunge but the attack has such a short distance it makes each battle life or death. Further, it takes way to many hits to kill anything and players will often walk into a room filled with enemies, leaving you horribly outnumbered. With some luck, the player can unlock perks that can be purchased if the player amassed enough coins during the last subsequent playthroughs but these are usually just allow access to additional items or character classes; they don’t start you off with better overall stats to make the game easier or more playable.
As I explain what this game is all about, watch as I get slaughtered by a room full of enemies and fumble with the UI in my stream below:
The “Unlocked Edition” portion of the title implies that all previously released DLC is included in one package. So instead of making your way further and further into an endless dungeon, the player can optionally participate in Mithril Run (collect gold), Ripley Run (kill as many enemies as possible), and Dark Ritual (don’t let the baddies summon that demon). However, these modes suffer from the same issues as the main campaign.
Instead of being fun, Unexplored is annoying, frustrating, and cheap. Not only is the gameplay cheap, but so are the visuals, soundtrack (if you can even call it that), UI, and even the main menu screen. If the gameplay loop of the roguelike gameplay was addicting, some of these flaws could be overlooked. Instead, the end result makes the player eat a pile of mush when it should have been a celebrated meal.
Also available on Steam, Switch, and PS4.
Worse Than: that meal you made for your Valentine’s Day date
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Wait For It: a new indie game that isn’t a roguelike