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Unusual Findings Review

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Genre: Retro Point and Click Adventure

Modes: Single Player

Developed by: Epic Llama, Epic Llama Games

Published by: Buka Entertainment

Release date: October 12 2022

Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Linux

Platform I played on: Xbox Series X

Price: AU$19.99

 

Right off the bat, Unusual Findings is a clear homage and love letter to 1980's pop culture. From the visual aesthetic of the game itself, to movie references scattered throughout the levels, characters and dialogue. It feels very Steven Spielberg-y mixed in with a dash of Robert Zemeckis. While the game itself is visually and soundly designed, I did find myself stuck at some points that made the game a bit frustrating to play. Aside from a short experience that could have had a bit more depth in some areas as well, I still enjoyed my time with this 80's SCI-FI teen movie in a video game. From the choices and dialogue you can pick from, you can get three completely different endings depending what you pick. Let's jump right in;



Story

This is heavy

The story focuses on three friends - Vinny, Nick and Tony in the backdrop of a small town in the 1980's. You play the entire game as Vinny, and at the beginning of the game you're grounded for conducting an experiment on a neighbors front yard. But, in typical teen fashion, Vinny sneaks out to meet up with his two friends after their new cable descrambler arrives. Unknown to them, at that exact moment they try to decrypt to watch the adult channel (naked chicks), they pick up a distress signal of an alien spaceship that crashes in the woods near the small town. And again in 80's sci fi movie fashion, they make their way to the woods and begin their adventure and discovering the truth.


While discovering and learning about the alien, you'll get to visit a few places including a Video Buster Store (of course, Blockbuster), Emerald Sword Comic Store, Ranger Station, ~lovers lane~ and even Laser Llamas game Arcade. Along the way you'll also find help from friends and people you meet including an older action hero friend and a reporter. The banter between the three friends throughout the game was fairly decent, and about what you expect from three teenagers navigating in a time pre social media.


While I thought the story could have had just a tiny bit more depth to it with the story and characters, it was still enjoyable for the most part. Personally though, I felt like there could have been a bit more interaction with the three friends and the alien itself. The game will take roughly 6-7 hours, depending on your playstyle and whether you want to interact with every object and person.


There are also three different endings you can get depending on your choices and the way you figure out puzzles, and from what I've read and seen they're drastically different.


The voice acting was fairly average here as well, nothing that really stood out to me - but other wise it's not bad or anything.



Gameplay

It's pretty simple gameplay - you point and click where you want to go. That's it. You pick on the map where you want to go, and that's that. You can talk to people, punch people (in some circumstances) and just look at people before making a decision and to hear Vinny's thoughts. Some areas you navigate your way through may seem insignificant, but the game's intent is for you to explore and see what you can come up with.


You have an inventory in your bag that will help you progress through the game. From wrenches, knock off snacks, to small toys - whatever you come across may be of use to you. My advice is to pick up every little thing you find, no matter how silly it may seem -because it will come in handy in a way you don't expect. Trust me. Some puzzles can be straight forward, but the further you get into the game it can get tougher and can get frustrating quickly. If you're patient and enjoy puzzles then you'll have no issue. Overall the gameplay was simple - it's just the puzzles that you have to do that can be on the difficult side. Some players will enjoy this element but for some it can be a bit frustrating especially when all you want to do is just progress in the story.


The map in the beginning of the game that includes; the three friends houses, Movie Theatre, Emerald Store and Bar, The Bull's trailer, Bridge, Lovers lane, Top Secret Base, Ranger Station and a Farm

Graphics | Design

The world of the game is crafted immaculately with the 2D side scroller 80's game visual design. Alongside the music (both score and songs) the general design of the game is easily one of the best aspects of the game.


Soundtrack

At the start of the game's opening credits you'll hear a classic 80's banger that you'll most definitely sing along to (I certainly did). The soundtrack was composed by Tomas Ferrero, and in 80's inspired fashion the soundtrack heavily includes synths - of course Out of all the 80's media/takes place in that era I could think of from the top of my head, the soundtrack sounds a lot closer to the likes of Stranger Things. Anyone who enjoys the Sci-Fi genre, particularly in this era, is likely to enjoy the soundtrack too. Unfortunately it doesn't look like the full soundtrack is on Spotify or YouTube which is a shame - though I'm holding out hope that they will eventually. Need more synth in my video game soundtrack playlist!



Glitches | Bugs | Issues

Nothing that I found in my playthrough which was nice. Of course, this isn't to say there aren't any issues at all, but just worth noting what I experienced personally.


Replay ability

For the hardcore players looking to achieve every trophy/achievement, yes. I think this is a game specifically for you to challenge yourself. As mentioned there are a few different ways to play this game and figuring puzzles out depending on your playstyle. Personally I don't think I would jump back into this game. Usually when I play games with multiple endings and different scenarios playing out, I usually try to see everything that I can. In this instance however I just can't force myself to play it further, which is a shame.


Conclusion

I can highly recommend this game for players who enjoy click and point adventures, with a side of enough puzzles to get you thinking of every possible way to proceed the story. I don't think I can recommend this for players who are looking to just enjoy the story of a game, as I've mentioned previously, this game will require you to solve puzzles which can get frustrating and may cause you to turn off the game and never return to it. Of course, if you're looking for a new challenge then I think Unusual Findings is the perfect next game for you. Point and click games can be fairly simple, or they can be a challenge. In this instance even though I did struggle in some parts, I can still see how this game will certainly find it's audience.


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