Unavowed Review (Switch): Behind The Veil

Unavowed gets the Switch treatment and is a benchmark for adventure games on consoles (and PC for that matter).

There’s no way you can be considered an adventurer without dipping your toes in the exalted waters of Wadjet Eye GamesUnavowed, their latest release on the Switch is absolutely brilliant, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this in a heartbeat.

A point and click adventure launched on PC in 2018; the game makes the transition to Nintendo’s rectangle and does a great job. Playable both in handheld and docked, of course, you’ll also be able to make use of the touchscreen when portable to interact with the screen. The accessibility of this game is wonderful. 

The left stick moves the cursor quickly, the right is systematic, and the d-pad will digitally shift to points of interest and dialogue. There’s also the almost customary highlight option to indicate points of interest. But what sets apart Wadjet Eye Games, at least in my opinion, are the bonus commentaries. I first encountered this with Strangeland and found the whole experience fascinating, informative and added value to gameplay – sharing some behind the scenes insights and perhaps filling in any blanks with concepts.

Unavowed Switch Review - It could be a distraction...
It could be a distraction… Source: PR

With my steadily growing catalogue by the developer/publisher, I note that the production is of the highest calibre – using quality voice talent throughout (Unavowed is a full-on talkie, like Primordia, not just text) – the artwork is also superb. But before this review gets completely derailed with lip service, let’s focus on the title in question and how a tale of jinn, demons and poltergeists can be so incredibly human.

Our entry into the narrative is a rooftop scene where you are being held against your will

Depicted by silhouettes, you craft your protagonist by confirming whether you’re male or female and then state your profession. Without overthinking the three options, I went for the bartender role – nothing to do with aspirations or a former life. Intuitively, this felt like it would mould my playing style into empathy, allowing NPCs to bend my ear and open up in dialogue options. Either I have some foresight or played too many games, as this accurately described my game persona (in real life too, don’t you know!?).

This profession, or class, allows specific dialogue scenes with characters that took me down a path that perhaps the other two choices wouldn’t. I don’t entirely know at this stage as those will be for future playthroughs, but in short, I made the right choice for me and my experience. Why? Well, because of the investigative nature of the story.

Continuing from this rooftop exposition, it transpires that you were possessed by a demon for a full-on year, committing horrible atrocities – murder, manipulation, cult worshipping and biting your fingernails. Fortunately, you don’t remember these events but will get flashbacks here and there as you are soon recruited to join/serve the Unavowed. 

Unavowed Switch Review - He had to cool off
He had to cool off. Source: PR

They are unsung heroes featuring mages, spirits and numerous deities with supernatural abilities and intuition. You wouldn’t have heard of them as they’re protected by the veil – shielding their identities to the Mundane. That’s the name for folk like you and me – Muggles – those without powers. The group cover the city of New York, investigating events that link with the main arc of the demon.

There isn’t one sole selling point for this game, as it’s the complete package

Besides the fantastic voice acting and visuals, Unavowed is incredibly well written. It’s layered with myth as if straight from a Neil Gaiman novel, but with a slight pulp fiction feel that marries the styles together perfectly. As with any point and click, it’s a dialogue-heavy experience (a good thing). There are numerous entries to choose from, not necessarily going through the motions and selecting everything, as sometimes the options disappear. You need to be mindful of your actions as they affect the story and subsequent outcomes.

Hot on the pursuit of the demon’s trail, your character and his party will encounter numerous story arcs with puzzles to decipher and personalities to examine. In true point and click manner, while there are many scenes, they’re often self-contained, featuring back and forth problem solving – perhaps speaking to an NPC, returning to an area to uncover a new truth, then going back to them to interrogate. Unavowed isn’t without its walls of not knowing what to do next, but you can consult with your team for hints or even use them from your inventory, tapping into their skillset.

I cared about the characters through the often tortured NPCs you encounter. From the developing story and team building to the brilliant score and set pieces, Unavowed is a joy to play and an absolute must for adventure fans.

Unavowed Switch Review - Pretty tied up
Pretty tied up. Source: PR

This Switch version sets the benchmark for the genre – in fact, the industry too. Whether you play with the touchscreen, d-pad, analogue sticks or all of them, everything gels perfectly, and I have zero complaints with playing this point and click on a console. 

There’s something about the game that goes that extra mile, like a classic LucasArts or Sierra title pre-empting the fan requests by providing an audio commentary in advance. Scratch that comment that Wadjet Eye Games are like LucasArts and Sierra. Based on the last three titles I’ve played, including Unavowed, they’re in the same league.

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