There is a sequence, late in Unavowed, where everything nally clicks together. The choices you’ve made thus far are drawn into sharper contrast, the story turns a fascinating corner, and the reasoning behind numerous design decisions is suddenly clear. The scope of the game’s ambitions is brought into focus, and it’s a wonder to witness. This is not a spoiler, but it’s worth knowing up front that Unavowed – a game that sometimes feels constrained by its focus on choice and narrative over puzzles – has tremendous payoff. It’s a good adventure game that becomes great if you stick with it.
Unavowed opens with you choosing the gender and previous occupation of your character – choices that will affect how the game plays out – during an exorcism. Your protagonist is the one being exorcised; for the past year they’ve been inhabited by a demon and have left a trail of death and destruction behind. The demon escapes and you’re promptly enlisted into the New York chapter of the Unavowed, a team of ‘void-touched’ heroes that ghts back against sinister supernatural forces.
Wadjet Eye Games is best known for the Blackwell series, and Unavowed is a similar point-and-click experience. It’s a simpler game than many others in the genre, divided roughly into chapters that don’t necessitate much backtracking or pixel hunting. As you move between locations, trying to undo the work of the demon, you’re unlikely to be stumped; many puzzles can be solved simply by talking to everyone, or by interpreting obvious clues. Your ability to interact with the environment is parred right down: few items on any given screen can be directly interacted with, and it’s rare to nd yourself with a particularly stacked inventory, or holding an item that doesn’t have an immediate, obvious function to serve.
But the real pleasure comes from seeing how the members of the Unavowed bounce off each other, and nding unique solutions based on your character load-out. By midway through the game you have a party of ve, but only three can go on each ‘mission’, and puzzle solutions will change slightly depending on who you take. Sometimes this is largely cosmetic, but at other times a mission will be changed enormously by your character choices. This also extends to your backstory – my character was an actor, which became such an important, organic part of the story that I can’t imagine it having been any other way. You could play the game through a second time and have quite a different experience.
It’s hard not to grow attached to Eli, Mandana, and the rest of the Unavowed crew. The script does a fantastic job of building up the world they live in, and each character is deeply developed through your conversations with them. The wider world of the supernatural is eshed out enough that you feel like a part of something bigger, which is an impressive feat for a small-scale indie. Unavowed isn’t the most challenging adventure game, but the tale it weaves is personal, surprising, and quite delightful under all the bloodshed and damnation.
KEY SPECS Developer: Wadjet Eye Games • Publisher: Steam Platform: PC www.wadjeteyegames.com/games/ unavowed/