There’s no shortage of indie pixel games nowadays. But every so often one appears that offers to blend two incredible titles to create something familiar yet wholly unique. Whenever one of these pops up I can’t help but want to try it out for myself. Even more so if it is one that takes inspiration from The Legend of Zelda and Hyper Light Drifter. UNSIGHTEDis one such game. It is an isometric action RPG with a Metroidvania twist, not unlike Eldest Souls. It features excellent storytelling, challenging souls-like combat, beautiful pixel art, among a slew of other unique gameplay mechanics.
“The feeling of running out of time does an excellent job of creating tension and ultimately highlights the responsibility you have in determining the outcome of UNSIGHTED’s narrative.”
UNSIGHTED puts you in the world of Arcadia, a post-apocalyptic city where humans have ceased to exist. In their place, a group of robots are building their last line of defence against the threat of rogue automatons. They have depleted their Anima, the source of their sentience, and become UNSIGHTED. Once they become UNSIGHTED, they lose their mind and succumb to madness.
You play as Alma, an automaton created by a human doctor, who wakes up alone with no recollection of what has happened. After reuniting with old friends, Alma is tasked with retrieving five shards scattered throughout Arcadia. These shards will recreate a powerful sword that can destroy the plague infecting the automatons. Alma’s special because she received advanced programming and combat training. Essentially, the fate of her kind lies on her shoulders. The game touches upon and delve into Alma’s backstory and relationships with other important characters.
UNSIGHTED introduces a mechanic where your choices matter and have consequences. Time is of the essence because it’s not just running out for you, but for all the automatons in the world. There is a countdown timer that shows how much time each NPC has left. Every time you die, the timer will decrease. Once the timer for anyone reaches zero, they will become UNSIGHTED. This feeling of running out of time does an excellent job of creating tension and ultimately highlights the responsibility you have in determining the outcome of the narrative. The game does introduce items that can extend your remaining time or can be donated to other NPCs of your choosing. This however offers an additional layer of tension as you have to decide who to save.
“There’s an incredible amount of detail and colour variety put into the animations and overall visuals.”
Even though UNSIGHTED is a game built on 8-bit pixel graphics, there’s an incredible amount of detail and colour variety put into the animations and overall visuals. Even the pixelated raindrops are accentuated. Studio Pixel Punk further immerses you into the world of Arcadia with its beautiful soundtrack. From cheerful to sombre, the music combines melodic piano keys with deep bass to create an appropriate mood for each setting.
UNSIGHTED offers an immense amount of replayability that stretches beyond your typical new game plus mode or higher difficulties. Through in-game systems, you become incentivised to play again in order to save different NPCs or achieve different endings. Additionally, you can also play the game in co-op with a friend. Furthermore, there is also a roguelike mode where you can select starting weapons and items and see how long you can last. If that wasn’t enough, there is a boss rush mode where you can tackle previously encountered bosses.
“Studio Pixel Punk does an outstanding job balancing combat difficulty, making each encounter in UNSIGHTED challenging but fair.”
The gameplay of UNSIGHTED consists of exhilarating combat encounters and complex puzzles. Alma can use up to two weapons. These can either be dual melee weapons, dual ranged weapons, or a combination of the two. Standard attacks and dodges expend stamina, whereas perfectly timed parries will slow down time. This allows you to string together counter hits. Dying results in dropping half of your “souls”, which can then be picked up at the place of death. The real penalty isn’t the “souls” though. Instead, it is the aforementioned precious time you lose. Studio Pixel Punk does an outstanding job balancing combat difficulty, making each encounter challenging but fair.
The Metroidvania element comes into play when you acquire new weapons that act as tools for traversal and puzzle solving in addition to combat. The world of Arcadia practically begs to be explored, containing a lot of side areas and secrets to discover. Puzzles are often complex and require the player to swap weapons as well as precise timing. Unfortunately, it is the case that, at times, it wasn’t clear where to go as Arcadia. It is an incredibly vast world which meant some backtracking and navigation felt cumbersome and tedious. The isometric view also occasionally obscured certain platforms and areas, which also hindered traversal.
The RPG element comes into play with workbenches that you can utilize to craft items and gear from scrap you collected throughout the world. Flowing quite well with the theme of robots and technology, Alma can slot chips into her body, allowing for an upgrade to health, stamina, or even a weapon. In addition to computer chips, Alma can buy or craft cogs that act as a temporary buff. These include increased attack and defence power, or an extra life.
“I found that it was the heart-warming narrative and complex decision making that cemented UNSIGHTED as a truly unique and memorable experience.”
UNSIGHTED, from start to finish, is a wondrous spectacle. It not only excellently combines an action RPG with Metroidvania elements but boasts an impressive amount of replayability. The fact that it includes the ability to play cooperatively as well as a rogue-like dungeon and boss rush mode makes it well worth its meagre asking price.
However, I found that it was the heart-warming narrative and complex decision making that cemented it as a truly unique and memorable experience. Its use of the very unique and nonlinear concept of death timers made it not only a tense but fulfilling experience that constantly kept me on my toes. UNSIGHTED is a one of a kind experience and one I will not only remember fondly but find myself going back to time after time.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the Publisher.
UNSIGHTED excellently combines multiple genres to create an experience unlike any other. It offers exhilarating combat and complex puzzles alongside a meaningful and unique sci-fi narrative. All of this is cemented by a strikingly powerful art style and soundtrack. With thought-provoking decision making and a likeable cast of characters, UNSIGHTED is well worth playing.