Review – Unforeseen Incidents (Switch)
One of the reasons why I love the Nintendo Switch so much is that it frequently receives ports of games that were previously released for PC. In many cases, for me at least, these are games that somehow managed to fly under my radar when they first came out. Thanks to being essentially re-released for the Switch, many titles are able to capitalize on a second wave of interest. Case and point is Unforeseen Incidents, a point-and-click adventure from German developer Backwards Entertainment. I had never heard of this game prior to its Switch release, but now I’m so happy I’ve discovered it.
In Unforeseen Incidents you play as Harper, a handyman in the small town of Yelltown. After encountering a mysterious woman dying from a strange illness, Harper becomes entangled in a nefarious conspiracy. With the help of his scientist friend, MacBride, and a tenacious journalist, Helliwell, Harper hopes to get to the bottom of what is causing the outbreaks of the deadly disease. I have to admit, that with the pandemic currently sweeping across the globe, the premise of this game really hit close to home in a lot of ways.
Unforeseen Incidents is a point-and-click adventure game. This means that it has all of the same controls and basic tactics as every other in the genre. You’ll use your cursor to interact with objects and people, and take everything that it allows. Speak to everyone you see as many times as possible to unlock all dialogue option and hopefully glean vital information. You’ll also want to carefully inspect each item you collect to search for hidden details and potential clues. Like I said, all the standard point-and-click concepts.
The puzzles are what can really make or break a point-and-click adventure. The game needs to be challenging enough to not become boring, but it also needs to have solutions that make logical sense. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting stuck at a section and being unable to progress, giving in and looking up the answer in a walkthrough, only to find that there was no possible way you could have ever guessed such an abstract solution.
Thankfully, Unforeseen Incidents tends to stay right in that sweet spot of being challenging, but not absurd. Although, there is one part in the game where you’ll have to know how to input commands into a computer in order to access to some information, and for many players, I could see this being an issue. On the bright side, since this game originally released in 2018, there are plenty of guides available.
I’m happy to say that Unforeseen Incidents plays really well on the Switch. I only had one minor issue in the beginning when I couldn’t figure out how to inspect my items, because it wasn’t made clear how to do so at the start. Luckily, I figured it out after playing around with the controls for a while. Aside from that though, the rest of the game’s controls are wonderful, with the cursor moving at a good pace and Harper walking at a fairly swift speed. The best part of playing Unforeseen Incidents on the Switch is that it has full touchscreen support. As I mentioned recently in my Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space Remastered review, I’m honestly shocked that most point-and-click games for the Switch don’t take advantage of this feature. It makes the experience much easier, so I’m grateful it’s present here.
I also really enjoyed the art style of Unforeseen Incidents. The entire game features hand-painted graphics in a 2.5D environment. There were a surprising number of backgrounds too, which made much of the game feel fresh. At first glance, people might be dismissive of it because of the somewhat cartoonish nature of the character models, but each one is unique and given a fair amount of detail. The only time the visuals suffered was whenever there were closeup shots of characters during a few cutscenes. In these instances, the images looked stretched and some of the details appeared blurry. These moments are few and far between though.
The sound design in Unforeseen Incidents is outstanding. Every one of the vocal performances were superb, which is shocking considering it was made by an indie studio. The playful banter, snarky quips, and genuine sounding reactions to the story’s events made the characters feel believable. I felt myself genuinely caring about them before long. The soundtrack was also well done, setting the tone for the mysteries and horrors of the game wonderfully. The entire experience is filled with an atmospheric tension that is highlighted by its subtle yet effective musical score.
I really enjoyed my time with Unforeseen Incidents. I’ll be honest and admit that I wasn’t expecting much more than your typical run-of-the-mill point-and-click adventure, but it turned out to be much deeper than I was expecting. The plot was engaging all the way through, the characters were flawed yet likeable, the art design is far more beautiful than it initially appears, and the vocal performances sell each character. It might have a few flaws, but those are minor when compared to everything else the game does really well. If you’re a fan of the genre, I highly recommend checking out Unforeseen Incidents. I certainly didn’t see this one coming.
A striking hand-painted art style that looks fantastic most of the time. At least until the closeup shots during cutscenes, where everything looks stretched out and slightly burred.
A point-and-click adventure game that thankfully actually takes advantage of the Switch’s touchscreen features. My only complaint is that it’s not clearly explained how to inspect the items you’ve picked up.
The voice acting is superb and the music sets the tone for the mysteries and horror around you very well.
Fun Factor: 8.5
For the most part, the puzzles make logical sense to solve. The only exception are the sections where you have to know how to type in computer commands, which might frustrate some players. However, the story is fantastic and stays engaging the whole way through.
Final Verdict: 8.0
Unforeseen Incidents is available now on PC and Switch.
Reviewed on Switch.
A copy of Unforeseen Incidents was provided by the publisher.