For my #4 game of 2021, it’s one that sped past a lot of people when it first came out. Of the top five this year it is the most contemporary in its design, but it’s still a well-executed take on action gameplay.
# 4 Unsighted
Unsighted is a game that attempts to elevate the high-speed action of the cult hit Hyper Light Drifter, but also throws in some emotional storytelling and a ticking timer to deal with. Your mission is to recover five crystals needed to breech the structure that is preventing all the automatons from getting access to the energy they need to live.
Unfortunately, time continues to tick down as you try to rush your way through without having too many of your friends dying in the process. Unsighted is on the challenging side and requires you to master its different weapons, and the very important parry system to have a chance at surviving. I really loved the aesthetics of the game and the pixel-driven cutscenes.
This is a well-executed action game, but what stops it from climbing higher is the disconnect between the gameplay and the timer. This is different from Majora’s Mask, in which the timer becomes a part of the gameplay and progress. Instead, the timer here is an ever-present reminder that you can’t explore the various areas and look for upgrades and secrets, because someone you know is going to die. For people who finish the game, the timer doesn’t really factor into the ending as much as you think, and there is an ending that completely negates it.
However, if you’re playing the game for the first time, you’re not going to realize this, and there are people who ended up getting frustrated and stopped playing. The developers said that they intended the game to be replayed several times, but I feel that was a mistake in terms of intent. Unless your game offers variance or different ways of experiencing it, you can’t count on people returning to a game for multiple plays.
As an action game fan, I enjoyed Unsighted and would recommend it to anyone who likes challenging titles and don’t mind a timer over the proceedings.