It’s no surprise that independent studios continue to compete for Nintendo’s hybrid console. This time, it’s the Germans from Backwoods Entertainment who are carrying their award-winning adventure game called Unforeseen Incidents. And the least we can say is that it resonates strangely with current events. Do you have your hydroalcoholic gel ready?
Harper Pendrell is a simple handyman who lives in Yelltown. And right now, it’s not a happy time: the town is under lockdown due to a strange and deadly epidemic. One day, while repairing a scientist friend’s equipment, he comes across a young girl seriously affected by this mysterious disease. Knowing she was lost, she entrusted him with an important message to pass on to one of her contacts. And so our good man finds himself drawn into a story that goes much further than he could have imagined.
Viruses, quarantine, pharmaceutical companies, all this might seem opportunistic given the context of this beginning of the year 2022. But it’s actually not: Unforeseen Incidents was first released on PC in May 2018 and the development of the Switch version had already been hinted at in early 2019. In a way, the folks at Backwoods Entertainment were even rather prescient.
Riding the fifth wave
Unforeseen Incidents is a very traditional point’n click game. The player controls Harper with the tip of the cursor and you have to collect useful objects and inspect the surroundings to progress in the story.
There are the classic obstacles for which you have to use the objects collected along the way, sometimes combined with each other. Some other puzzles require you to manipulate various systems and fiddle with their settings. The most twisted passages require the player to interpret well the clues scattered here and there; the answer is always present somewhere, it remains to understand what we are looking for. It is therefore necessary to go back and forth a few times to gather all the necessary information; fortunately, the game offers a quick travel system through a map of the current region.
The different points of interest in this room
The graphic style is nice, as if drawn by hand. The animation, however, is more rudimentary. Also, sometimes the character moves out of sync with the path (like walking on a wall instead of the nearby stairs).
All the dialogues are dubbed, the music does its job without being necessarily outstanding. All this serves an interesting story punctuated with twists and turns and some touches of humor.
Confined to the nomad
We tell here about the game in its Switch version. As always with a game of this kind ported to a console, the cursor is directed with the right stick and still feels like it takes three years to cross the screen. Fortunately, the triggers allow to quickly select points of interest around the character or even just the exit points. The left stick also allows you to move the character independently of the pointer.
The game is most enjoyable in mobile mode, as the touch screen is supported here. Everything can be directed with the tip of your finger for our greatest pleasure. Well, not really everything, actually: some manipulations are not obvious by this means and it is then easier to temporarily use the sticks. It’s also easier to bring up points of interest with the X button rather than looking for the corresponding icon in the inventory. And dragging and dropping items from the inventory can be tricky if you have fat fingers.
Another problem with the nomad is the size of the screen. There are some passages where the text is written really small, without the possibility to enlarge. It is better to have a good view.
One may also notice a few bugs: the cursor getting stuck on a button, text bubbles going off the screen or a password not wanting to be validated. If most of them are benign, some can be more annoying: players complainеd they had to reload the previous checkpoint to be able to validate an action.
Unforeseen Incidents has all the ingredients of a good adventure game and its adaptation takes advantage of the console’s advantages. But it remains overall very classic and the competition is already tough on the Nintendo eShop.