Steam version tested
Review code provided
It’s been a long and treacherous road for Unlucky Seven. Originally announced as (un)Lucky7 via IndieGoGo campaign back in 2013, the game sported a J-RPG look similar to the original Final Fantasy games, but with a mix of pixel and hand-drawn art. The studio went silent not long after that, but in 2017 the game was revived. The studio had changed names, and so did the game. Now under the title Unlucky Seven, and after a string of delays, we finally have a release date of August 30. Backers rejoice!
The game we have now ditched the stylisation of NES games for more of a PS1 era of graphics. Everything is now low poly, yet highly detailed 3D art. This isn’t the only major change the game has seen. The plot has been completely revamped. The old game was based on prisoners trying to escape an alien planet. The studio kept with the Sci-Fi thriller tone, but now things are much different. Here we have 7 friends who ditch their regular Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to attend a birthday party is a swanky motel. Little do they know, the owners of the motel make money on the Dark Web by making alcoholic beverages from the brains of their guests. And, well, you want to avoid becoming a gin and tonic.
The story and art all seem solid, but it deteriorates quickly once you start playing. The game plays in scenes, with each scene allowing the player to control a different character. Each scene is usually some dialogue, solving a puzzle or two, and more dialogue to close the scene out. Puzzles sometimes are simply lining up objects in order to connect power or unlock a door. While others, the majority, are about walking around, picking up objects, and combining them. The issue here is that you can only walk in straight lines as if navigating an invisible maze in slow motion. On top of that, when combining items you can only choose one item at a time from the menu, instead of doing it all at once. It’s a tedious and slow process to solve these puzzles, held back by clunky controls. It felt like playing a point and click game except you could only use a keyboard.
The story is told through the conversations between the characters. To be blunt, the English translation of the dialogue is very very bad. This might have been due to budgeting issues, but things become incoherent and seemingly random. On top of that, all voice acting is done in purely monotone inflexions. It seems more a script is just being read with volume levels bouncing all over the place. Dialogue will even repeat for no reason in the middle of conversations. There are points where this will break, and instead of speech it’ll be replaced by the animal crossing like chittering. This happens randomly. You can opt to turn voice acting off, but the game will force it to turn back on regardless.
A horror story is being fleshed out here, but due to poor cutscenes or awful dialogue, things become more humorous than scary. Beyond dialogue choice, the characters are all flat. There’s no real depth felt in the cast or in the relationships between them. Progressing their dialogue isn’t always registered forcing me to try 10 or more times just to move the scene along. The further I got in the game, the more issues I saw with input registration.
With a great storyline and unique visuals, Unlucky Seven seemed to be a promising new indie title. Plagued with issues in almost every aspect of the game, it’s an immediate mess upon startup. There’s potential here, and hopefully the game falls back into delays in order to clean things up. For now, there’s no way I could recommend this game, but I hope they’ll be updates to get this back on track.
TBG Score: 4/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 30/08/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Adventure
Developer: Puzzling Dream
Publisher: Art Games Studio, Ultimate Games
Download link: Steam