From the first moment I played one of Dave Gilbert’s games, I became a fan of Wadjet Eye Games and have enjoyed every title they’ve released. When the chance came to get my hands on Unavowed, their latest point & click adventure, I jumped at the chance.
Unavowed is an urban fantasy adventure where you play as a character with an origin of your choice but who inevitably becomes possessed by an alien entity that goes on a murderous rampage, landing you the sweet spot of public enemy number one. But thanks to an exorcism by the eponymous Unavowed, agents that protect the world from the things that really go bump in the night, you shake off the evil influence and join them in their cause, trying to piece together what your demonic self was up to during its meatsuit joyride.
Unavowed is a phenomenal game, one where your choice of origin plays both a narrative and mechanical part, and with branching paths and party selections that change the storytelling flow in ways I’ve never seen before in an adventure game. It’s a work of art, that’s what it is, and Dave Gilbert’s best work so far. As Wayne & Garth once said, “we’re not worthy!”
Mad, Mad World: Unavowed takes place in what you’d consider your typical urban fantasy setting—which also is my favourite genre and setting—our world but with a weirder part. But what makes Unavowed’s modern landscapes so good is that you can sense the potential for so much more. The story reveals elements in there, from spellcasters to ancient spirits and some good old-fashioned Fey thrown in the mix, but there is so much more left to your imagination. Best of all, the characters and archetypes don’t necessarily follow the traditional roles. In Unavowed, a demon may be a genuinely good guy, for example.
Agents of U.N.A.V.O.W.E.D: Unavowed has an ensemble cast but where in other games the number of characters might mean some writing depth has to go out the window, in Unavowed it’s the opposite. Each of the characters has wonderful depth and their personal stories are fantastic. And much like the world, there’s a wealth of backstory here that could be expanded on greatly in sequels, which I really want. Personal favourite, Logan and KayKay, a medium and his spirit guide, the ghost of a hyperactive, gamer 10-year-old girl. Their pathos is palpable but also their banter and chemistry are on point.
Feels like a Party: Unavowed is a point & click adventure game with party management. For each case you investigate, you can only take two members of Unavowed with you, the other two benched for the duration of the case. This means that every combination you choose drastically changes the way you’ll play and even solve the puzzles, which is genius. For example, one chapter has you locked in a storage facility. If you have Eli with you, you can use his fire magic along with a modified sprinkler system to get out, but if you don’t have him with you, there are alternative paths. Only Logan & Kaykay can see and interact with ghosts, so if you don’t take them with you, you’ll see a bunch of spectres you can’t interact with and who might have big clues for puzzles or create new ones altogether.
Replay Treasure: Unavowed is a long game, and I’m happy for it, it’s been a while since I’ve had a meaty point & click adventure to sink my teeth into. The story has multiple origin paths, like bartender or cop, and each of them has a different effect on the narrative and conversations. It also has branching paths in every case, and lastly it has multiple endings based on your choices. I went for the big selfless ending, as I always do, but maybe you’ll be a bit more selfish. I’m planning multiple playthroughs, with different origins and party members, to see everything Unavowed has for me.
Looking fresh, Mr Smith: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love the Wadjet Eye Games’ sprits and art. Their backgrounds are impeccable and, in this title, both jaw-dropping and surreal, from a nightmarish forest to an ice office floating in the skies. Mundane and magical mix in Unavowed and rarely ever more so than in the background art. Characters are great, and I love how detailed the sprites are and how smooth and fluid their animations are. It’s also kinda cool that Logan looks exactly like Will Smith!
Get me that OST: I mean, at this stage should I keep gushing? I love the music, the main theme is perfectly moody for the game and more than location pieces or environmental music, the soundtrack matches the mood of the story being told at each locale (so, Thomas Regin, big thumbs up to you!). This, coupled with some really nice sound effects and kickass voice acting, means you’re in for a treat.
Unnecessary Benching: During each case, you can only bring two characters—aside from the protagonist—with you and there’s very little reason for it. The story doesn’t really go into reasons why you can’t take the rest of the crew along, so it’s a bit strange. Sure, you can imply that the Unavowed work subtly, without drawing too much attention to themselves, but there’s really no big reason for this restriction other than for mechanical reasons. Having said this, this is a nit-pick in what is essentially a freaking perfect game.