2021 has been a year with a good number of surprisingly good games. This includes titles like the mind-bending Scarlet Nexus, the time-twisting, Deathloop, and even Tales of Arise.
With big game releases month after month, there are times we have to give attention to some awesome indie titles that have been released this year. The one that got our attention is Unsighted, a little Metroidvania gem made by the two trans-women developers from Studio Pixel Punk in Brazil.
Love, Death, and Automatons
Right off the bat, this game gave us quite the impression. With graphics that remind us of classic Metroid games and Axiom Verge (another awesome indie title), Unsighted puts its Metroidvania roots on its sleeve pretty nicely.
A story about an automaton named Alma that lost her memory, Unsighted takes you on a journey set in a world dominated by automatons. Immediately, you can see the struggle between the automatons trying to survive, and the titular Unsighted that have lost their sentience and have become aggressive.
With the world divided into 5 major areas, along with a very beautiful village hub, the game follows the classic Metroidvania approach of unlocking abilities and equipment to progress through certain areas, while uncovering secrets and beating bosses along the way.
Visuals – 4.5
With a great visual design that creates an eerie yet colorful setting, Unsighted is one of the best-looking games of the year, and it didn’t need high-end game engines to create it.
Each major area has a distinct look and feel that prevents them from blending in with each other. This allows you to tell them apart and keep the world interesting enough for you to keep exploring.
The animation is also very smooth, with classic parallax scrolling along the background giving depth, to Alma’s attacks and movement looking buttery smooth on screen. The enemy animations also look great, especially the minibosses and bosses which deal a flurry of colorful and dangerous attacks that you need to dodge and parry.
The character design is another strong element of the game. Each named character has a distinct look, making them very colorful while showing off their personality, which is important in a game with no voiced dialogue.
Mechanics – 5
Gameplay is one of the biggest strengths of Unsighted. The combat system has a great mix of quick and meaty melee combat and a nice selection of ranged options.
At the heart of the game’s combat are close-range encounters, where dodging and parrying attacks are the main priority. Perfectly timed parries allow you to stun enemies and deal critical hits, making it feel very rewarding. Ranged combat is also interesting, with enough weapons to allow you to deal with specific enemies, or even use to clear some of the game’s clever puzzles.
The game’s enemies offer enough variety for you to use these mechanics too, with some of the tougher ones and bosses requiring you to learn their patterns quick to survive. Platforming and puzzles are also another fun element, such as unlocking abilities and weapons to improve Alma’s skills and make her stronger.
Replay Value – 4.5
Unsighted is a pretty short game that’s designed to be finished as quickly as you can. This means that you might miss some areas and characters in your first playthrough, making you want to play again. The best part is that there is a New Game+ that allows you to carry over your weapons and chips, allowing you to start the game with all the stuff you need to finish the game once more.
Sound – 4
When it comes to Unsighted’s sound design and music, the former tends to be inconsistent, while the latter does its job well. Music helps create the right atmosphere for each major area of the game while providing exciting scores during boss fights that keep you on your toes.
The sound effects, on the other hand, tend to be a mixed bag. Some actions sound flat and generic, which would have helped add to the immersion. The weapons sound fine, but overall, the sound could be better.
Heart – 5
What makes Unsighted a fun gem of a game to play is how the story makes you care about the characters and gets you invested in how the plot moves along as you play. The struggle of Automatons surviving and keeping their sentience is fascinating, as you can lose important characters that can help you out. The story unfolds after clearing each area and gives you huge plot points that just make the story so intriguing.
Overall – 4.6 out of 5
Unsighted is one of the most wonderful gaming surprises of 2021. With classic Metroidvania elements, combined with rewarding combat mechanics and a strong emotional story, you have one of the most fun Metroidvanias of the year.
The TGJ Game Review metric is divided into 5 categories, with each one having an individual score. The average of all these scores will determine the overall rating of the game. The criteria are as follows:
Visuals: This measures the game’s artistic, graphical, and visual design.
Mechanics: This measures the controls and other gameplay functions that can be performed.
Replay Value: This measures the fun factor of the game after multiple playthroughs.
Sound: This measures the game’s music, voice acting, and sound effects.
Heart: Each game has something that makes it feel like a special experience. This category measures what makes the game a great experience. These factors can include stories, community, and much more.