Unexplored: Unlocked Edition Nintendo Switch Review by SwitchWatch

Developer: Nephilim Game Studios

Publisher: Digerati

Release Date: August 9th 2018

Price as of Article: $15.00 USD, £13.49 GBP

Game code provided by Digerati for review

Story

If there is a story here then it’s this; venture into the Dungeon of Doom, steal the Amulet of Yonder from the fearsome dragon and make it out of the place alive. I can only assume that this amulet is very valuable, but in all honesty, that’s all there is. There isn’t much more in terms of a story within the game to pull you in and keep you interested.

Gameplay

The game is described as a Roguelike that feels like a Roguelite. I mean it’s either one or the other, and from what I have played when you perish you have to start a run again, so this is a Roguelike. If you’re someone that doesn’t like to lose progress, then this certainly won’t change your mind on the genre. Jordan ran a poll on his video for Dead Cells and an incredible 87% of you said that you prefer Roguelites in that you want some form of progression in the game to take into your following runs. Now, my two favourite Roguelikes are Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon on the Nintendo Switch, and they are both brilliant because the combat is so precise and fun. While you lose progress when you die, you can’t wait to jump back in to try and do better than your last run. So I was very keen to see what this had on offer.

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There are a few things straight off that I dislike about this game, and unfortunately, no matter how much I played I just could not get into the game as much as I thought I would. First of all, the fighting mechanics feel dull. You are supposed to use both analogue sticks here; one is to move your character and the other is to aim your weapon in the direction of enemies and lock on. It works well enough. At first, you begin with a sword and a dagger. The sword can be pushed forward but then there is a cool-down. Why? Why on earth would there be a cool-down on the swipe of your sword? It makes battles a chore. I didn’t enjoy the combat which is a bit of a problem. Your second weapon is a little dagger that you can throw at enemies and then you can pick other daggers up to throw those too. I get where they were going with this. They tried to make a game that is more about having tactical fights, but it never felt right to me and felt poorly implemented. There are other weapons you can gather later on in your runs, but it doesn’t change the experience too much.

I did enjoy the more explorative feel and puzzle solving aspects of the game and this was more fun than coming across any of the enemies that is for sure.

Each run is different, and the dungeon generation is quite good. However, it takes an age to load the game, and often mid-game, the game stops to generate more of the dungeon which stops you in the middle of the action.  There are lots of different enemy types from Skeletons, Goblins and Wyrms to battle, and you will die sometimes unfairly. Sometimes the dungeon will generate, and you will just be overwhelmed by enemies with not much you can do other than run away. Other times, it will be more manageable, but the balance isn’t right, so you have to keep trying again and again until you get a bit of luck.

The menu system is also one of the worst I have used, and it impacts the gameplay as it’s just so unintuitive. Moving items around and picking them up feels painful. If you are going to make a Roguelike game, then you need something to keep you coming back for more.  Something to keep you wanting another run each time. I just didn’t feel addicted enough to the gameplay to want to keep playing. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t feel like I wanted to make another run once I had perished. The game has 7 characters to unlock, but whether you will want to or not is another matter.

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The game does come with 3 DLC packs: Mithril Run DLC, Ripley Run DLC and The Dark Ritual DLC. Each has varying objectives to accomplish. There are also differing difficulties you can choose in this game for those that like a fiendish challenge. If you are going to purchase this game, it will require a lot of patience and persistence. The game was received well on PC, however, I am at a bit of a loss to understand why people enjoyed this so much. Maybe you can let me know in the comments section below.

Audio

The audio in the game is nothing special. There are no great melodic tunes to draw you in, the sound effects are very basic here and, to be honest, I expect better from the sound design department for the price.

Visuals and Performance

One thing the game does do well is in the visual department. It has a cute aesthetic, and the dungeon generation looks good on the new runs with traps always placed in different spots. It doesn’t look as crude as other dungeon crawlers I have played where the levels are completely randomly generated.  I liked the look of the game, performance was ok other than those long loading times.

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Value

The game includes all DLC packs as mentioned, and there are a few modes and characters to unlock which is all ok. But, my issue is while there is a good amount of content, if you don’t find it fun, it doesn’t really matter. It may sound harsh, but if I had 15 bucks sitting in my pocket, there are far better games to choose from in this genre alone.

Pros

P

Dungeons look quite nice

P

Decent amount of content

Cons

P

Dull combat

P

Terrible Menu system

P

Nothing to keep you coming back for another run

P

Repetitive very quickly