REVIEW: ‘Unsighted’ Is the Best New Metroidvania You Haven’t Heard of Yet (XSX)

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Unsighted - But Why Tho

Unsighted is a new Metroidvania from Studio Pixel Punk and Humble Games. Alma awakens with no memories to a world nearing its end. Humanity’s greed has unleashed total devastation, and the Automatons, who relatively recently awakened into consciousness, are becoming Unsighted monsters. With the support of the few Automatons who still have time left, she now must find the five pieces of the meteor that gave everyone life and save everyone, including her girlfriend.

Unsighted is easily one of the most creative games I’ve played. It is, at its heart, a Metroidvania, an open world filled with interconnected map areas, new gear to acquire and help you traverse between them, and upgrades to purchase along the way. But it’s so much more too. Chiefly, it’s a race against time. The Automatons of Arcadia are given their consciousness by a substance called Anima, of which there is very little left in the world. Each character in the game has only a certain number of hours worth of Anima remaining before they too go Unsighted. Therefore, you must not only save the world, but you must do it on a timer that ticks down one minute per second. There is the constant and real risk that you or any of your allies, item vendors, and friends can run out of time and turn into an enemy before your eyes.

Fortunately, there are small amounts of Anima hidden throughout the world, essentially as a collectable, that you can acquire and either use on yourself to extend your remaining time, or gift to other Automatons to keep them alive and even win their friendship in a Starwdew-Valley-like system that provides rewards as you fill their heart meters. This substance is limited, though, so you must pick and choose how to spend what time you have remaining in a harrowing way. Be selfish and gain extra time to complete the game, or be selfless and help your friends? No matter what you choose, it will be agonizing.

Both sides of Unsighted‘s gameplay are executed flawlessly. The world is truly open. The game tells you from the beginning that you have a suggested path to follow but are welcome to explore as you will. I took that as a challenge and found ways to go in a different order than was suggested. So many games over the years have claimed this ability but really left you on ultimately still-linear paths. This game, on the other hand, is really open. If you can find a way, through brute strength, purchasing items at steep prices, or cleverly platforming, you can go in totally different orders to collect the game’s McGuffins. At the same time, the time mechanic keeps you constantly under pressure and striving to succeed, so you never have to witness something terrible happen to your friends or, worse, lose the game.

But the thing is, it’s literally impossible to keep everybody alive. Some start with so little time in the first place. Others you simply forget about because the game is so full of characters. And worse yet, if you’re running out of time yourself, you have the option to siphon some time from other Automatons. It’s a cruel system that sets you up emotionally to fail utterly. Whether they’re just nice folks who sell you goods or dear friends, the list of characters in the menu and the hearts next to them gives you this feeling that you must complete all their hearts and keep them all alive. But you simply can’t, especially on your first go-around of the game.

That is unless you toggle some of the game’s assistance modes. The game allows you to choose to play in Explorer Mode, where time moves exceedingly slow, and you basically never have to worry about anybody’s Anima expiring. There are also invincibility modes and increased stamina modes to offer a few different ways to adjust the difficulty and allow a player more interested in enjoying the plot and gameplay to avoid the traumatic time sensitivity.

This game’s gameplay is so strong. You can equip two weapons at a time, ranging from light and heavy swords to different types of guns to flaming shuriken. It’s a bit annoying that you must pause the game and navigate several clicks to change weapons, but the versatility and ability to play as you please weapon-wise is great. There are also dodging and parrying mechanics that are deeply satisfying to master, especially since the parry is a total gamechanger in combat but hard to pull off.

There are a few other cool mechanics too, like the crafting that helps you acquire all sorts of useful items, the chips that give you different stat boosts as long as you have room in your chip deck to equip them, the gears that give you temporary stat boosts, and the currency that you drop and must recover before dying again if you’re felled in combat. Plus, an entire local co-op mode, because what doesn’t this game have? Oh, and by the way, the game is absolutely gorgeous in its 16-bit style with strong character designs and unique areas across the map.

Whether you’re looking for a great adventure or a devastating one, Unsighted is absolutely both and then some.

Unsighted is available now on Xbox via Game Pass as well as PlayStations, Nintendo Switch, and PC.


Unsighted
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Whether you’re looking for a great adventure or a devastating one, Unsighted is absolutely both and then some.