Unexplored: Unlocked Edition is the Nintendo Switch version of a roguelike which was released towards the beginning of last year on Steam. A roguelike, if you’re unfamiliar with the subgenre is a procedurally generated RPG dungeon crawler with permadeath sometimes using turn-based combat, whilst in this case opting for a real-time combat system.
I’ll start by saying roguelike as a genre does not really appeal to me, time is precious and the idea of playing through a game with no end, repetitive gameplay and not a sniff of multiplayer does not appear to offer much in the way of reward, but this could be fun right? Well not for me, allow me to explain.
You start the game by selecting your characters name and appearance. Why I’m not sure, as it has no bearing upon the game, your character customisation is so limited and with the top down graphical style used, any changes you make are barely noticeable. The text and selection icons have clearly been ported directly from a PC, designed to be played on a larger screen, whilst sharp, the typeface is minuscule. You can either start the game or proceed through a brief tutorial. Now the tutorial attempts to guide you through the basics of the game and the inventory screens however it has to be one of the clunkiest janky menu systems I have experienced. I found the button layout unintuitive and on occasion unresponsive.
Graphically the game, whilst basic, is really quite charming. The sound effects and in particular the music are excellent, which is adaptive to the action going on around you. Now when I say action, this is technically an RPG, so the action is rather sedated. Combat is based around a twin stick style affair. You can attack enemies by walking into them or by using ranged magic and weapons. Your weapons have a brief cool down period, so it’s not as easy as just walking at an enemy constantly, you need to strafe as the enemy will to you. Spells, keys and solving puzzles are needed to progress deeper into the game.
Essentially delving deeper into the game rewards you in no way whatsoever, as with No Man’s Sky, when you are asking a computer to generate levels they get repetitive, not only in aesthetics but in layout also. Nintendo spent years designing the dungeons in Zelda games and there is a reason for that, humans know what other humans will find fun and challenging.
Maybe it’s just because I’m not a fan of the genre, but I just don’t get it, dull levels, bland combat and no reward, and did I mention that the menu system is absolute monkey spunk. I’ve read that this game was well received on PC, I could be wrong, but to me, I’d rather watch a Steven Segal boxset than have to sit through any more of this tripe, at least Steven adds some levity with his astonishing acting.
Beard Score: 3/10
Genre: Role-Playing, Adventure, Puzzle, Simulation
Release: 09/08/2018 (Switch)
Format: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch