By Kimari Rennis
It’s got that necessary dash of mystery. But it’s much more. Unforeseen Incidents is a 2-D point-and-click adventure game that requires you to collect items throughout your environment to solve puzzles. The game is one of a kind with its music, characters and atmospheres that players feel encouraged to jump into and engage in the story.
What could be worse than a mysterious plague known as the Yelltown Fever terrifying a population of only 7,000 people? The yellow and gray notice posters on the tan buildings, riddled with bits of electronics and other devices, keep people of Yelltown constantly reminded of how much danger they’re in. The RHC is the organization that is in charge of treating the infected and keeping the uninfected free from the virus.
Or so it may seem. Harper Pendrell is the self-identified “village idiot” of Yelltown. Despite the ranking he gives himself, Harper is an established engineer, currently unemployed, but with a history of tinkering with electronics and rummaging through the Yelltown junkyard for things to repair; he practically has a green thumb when it comes to computers and radios. Professor McBride asks that Harper find a cure for the people of Yelltown, but what happens when Harper catches the RHC spreading the pathogen themselves? It’s up to Harper figure out exactly who’s pulling the strings of this disease-spreading operation.
In Unforeseen Incidents, you take control of Harper Pendrell himself, to explore different locations, finding leads. Armed with his trusty multitool and decent conversational skills, Harper sets out to find reasons behind the RHC’s deadly act and piece each clue together with the help of journalist Jane Helliwell and Professor McBride. As for the controls, you click anywhere on the screen to move, and click on objects to pick them up. When an item is in your inventory, it can be combined with another simply by dragging the two together at the top of the screen. This may sound super easy, but it opens up a world of different puzzles for the player to get past.
Unforeseen Incidents is crafted in a beautifully distinct way. The art style is messy, but well composed enough to make the characters look humorous with their small, wandering cartoon eyes. It sort of reminds you of adult cartoons like “Bob’s Burgers” or “BoJack Horseman.” I can see that the game was made with passion and that the game’s features revolve around being unique and new, bringing a fresh experience to its players.
Unforeseen Incidents proves that crisp graphics and details alone do not make a good game. So they’ve gone the extra mile. The art of the atmospheres and different locations, coupled with the music, conveys emotions, creates mood, and brings the universe of Unforeseen Incidents to life. Unforeseen Incidents does all of this without the use of 3-D graphics and rendering, and it still looks great. The 2-D animation and sprites feel like a breath of fresh air compared to other games released in 2018.
What I like about the characters is the authentic feeling behind them. They depict the lives and personalities of people we encounter every day that rarely appear in other narrative-based games. They aren’t made to mindlessly let Harper do whatever he wants; not everyone is as easy-going as Harper’s friends. You must consider the right words as you talk to strangers in the game because they are not willing to share information with you so easily.
Unforeseen Incidents expertly sets up a world of feelings and emotions that the user can connect to. The big football game between the Seagulls and the Raccoons captured the attention of everyone at Yelltown. As Harper waltzed into the Yelltown Hotel, you saw Morton, a mellow bellhop quietly smoking a cigarette as loud music played in the bar. As the music continued to drone on in the next room, Morton expressed how he wanted to see the game despite having to work and missing out on the fun. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the time I chose not to attend prom because I wasn’t interested in partying. Not that I was upset or anything.
Another example of this would be the time when the mist was deep out in the forest past the Yelltown Hotel. Harper needed to repair McBride’s totalled car so they could set their master plan in motion and infiltrate the RHC to find a cure. I felt like I was in the actual game as I was rummaging through the junkyard for car parts – with the ability to peer inside the raggedy engine to fix it. Thanks to Harper, I learned how to fix a car, manually tune radio frequencies, repair electronic devices, and hack into computers. I felt like the engineer Harper Pendrell is in Unforeseen Incidents, and a genius when I figured out puzzles and found more pieces revealing the details behind the RHC scandal.
In conclusion, Unforeseen Incidents has a lot to give to its players. It provides us with a twisted, intriguing, and mysterious story that makes us immerse ourselves in finding clues and piecing things together in the narrative. Harper will always be accompanied by Helliwell the reporter and Professor McBride as they work together to expose the RHC and the cause of the Yelltown fever. This 2-D point and click mystery game deserves much credit for its craft, character, and the passion it’s made with.
Kimari Rennis is our New York Videogame Critics Circle senior intern, part of our ongoing partnership with the Bronx’s DreamYard Prep School.