Mystery Solved – Why Unforeseen Incidents is the Unrivaled Adventure Game of 2018

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A mysterious outbreak, a lonesome hero and a secret that needs to be unravelled. Yelltown Fever will grab hold of you just like it does the central characters in Unforeseen Incidents, the adventure game that is fast becoming an instant classic, out now on Steam and GOG.

Unforeseen Incidents is a beautifully designed adventure game devised by Alasdair Beckett-King and Marcus Bäumer for Backwoods Entertainment. The story surrounds a disease that besets the beautiful folk of Yelltown, who don’t shout loud enough when a classic conspiracy comes knocking. You control the interactive gameplay as Harper Pendrell, who is meek and might inherit the Earth if he can stop it from being wiped out in time. You’ve got to get to the bottom of the tale with the help of your trusty multi-tool, a kind of Swiss Army Knife for the Scooby-Doo gang.

While the dialogue is sharp and the plot rattles along at a good pace, the show’s star is not any of the excellent characters but the artwork itself. The attention to detail across the entire game through pen-and-ink design is stunning, with locations such as Yelltown itself lending an eerie glow to the whole tone of the game. The rolling majesty of Greywoods National Park gives way to the sunshine and distraction of Port Nicola before Harper Prendell journeys to snow-capped peaks in the abandoned Old Kahona. It feels like a journey our hero has been on, with you in control via easy point-and-click navigation.

As you might expect, solving the mystery of Yelltown Fever proves a tricky task for the enigmatic Harper. But his ready wit and guy-next-door charm made progressing through each stage of Unforeseen Incidents a lot of fun for this experienced gamer. The tale is a knowing homage to small-town mystery movies, and while Harper is a generation up from the kids in the Netflix drama Stranger Things, you can imagine that both worlds could co-exist. The yarn is ripping with a fantastic vocal cast and quirky, imaginative twists that kept me guessing until the final frame.

Harper Pendrell strikes up many a unique relationship in the game, and the dialogue prompts genuine laugh-out-loud moments throughout. Harper encounters Professor MacBride early on in the game, who is a kind of father figure you might find if an apocalypse had already broken out. Harper also enjoys some terrific banter with journalist Jane Helliwell along the way too. But Harper is the star, and he has a droll observation for every nuance in the sharp-edged script.

The puzzles are critical to any mystery game like Unforeseen Incidents, and they back up the game’s assumptive title with a decent degree of unpredictability. Harper’s multi-tool features attachments such as a pair of scissors, screwdriver and bottle opener. Those extensions and more will help you solve cryptic riddles in no time, and the originality of the puzzles never disappointed me.

The ratings for Unforeseen Incidents in the two months since its release have been nothing short of excellent, with a 9/10 score on Steam, 4.3/5 on GOG.com and an 81% rating on Metacritic.

While Harper Prendell’s multi-tool has the answer to most problems, the ingenuity of the game’s makers has created a puzzle that I wanted to pick up and play again and again.

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