The fine folks at Application Systems Heidelberg once again gave me a preview code, and it proved to be very timely. At the start of the year I prepared the list of games I intended to play over the next 12 months and shared it via my 2022 in Games post. I included the Saturn version of the classic “point & click” game, Discworld, intending to play it with the mouse. I sat down to play it soon after, and immediately discovered that only the Japanese version of the game supports the mouse. Disappointed, I parked that idea for the time being (I’ve since come up with a solution, but more on that story later).
Enter Application Systems, pretty much the following day I received the invite to try Unforeseen Incidents. A striking looking modern Point & Click for the Nintendo Switch, that I thought might be a worthy alternative to Discworld. Being on Switch meant it passed the first test of being playable on my television, and I hoped being a recent game would be more playable with a controller than those 90s games were, they are not fun without a mouse.
The story in Unforeseen Incidents centres around a mysterious virus outbreak in a small town. As words like quarantine get thrown around, it does feel a bit on the nose in 2022. However, the game has been out on PC for a while, releasing back in May 2018, when the current pandemic was also ‘unforeseen’. This is a pretty good review of the pc version of Unforeseen Incidents. It was probably sensible to not have the Switch version appear at the height of the pandemic, but to be honest after the opening act the story moves on enough that the parallels disappear anyway.
In-keeping with the genre conventions of point & click adventure games, the gameplay is solving a series of puzzles by finding objects and interacting with them and the environment to progress the story. It’s these interactions that can cause problems, where previous games in the genre have occasionally got a bit esoteric (or simply ridiculous) in their puzzles. Fortunately there is very little of that here, there were only a couple of occasions where I looked up solutions and one of those I was just missing a step in what I was already trying to do.
Very pleased to report that the control system for Unforeseen Incidents on Switch is excellent. I still think the best way to play these is with a mouse, but it is handled very well. I played most of the game with the Switch in the dock, using the Official Pro Controller*. The controls are intuitive, with left stick moving the player, and the right stick moving the cursor. However you can also play entirely using the right stick and then clicking to move the player, which will be more familiar to those used to playing with a mouse.
When navigating menus and choosing items, you can either point on them with the cursor, or cycle through with the d-pad. A simple button press brings up all the “hot spots” on screen, so you don’t miss anything you might be able to interact with. Also double pressing on one of the exits from an area will immediately take you to the next screen, so you don’t have to wait for the player to walk the whole way. All very comfortable.
I did the final chapter in handheld mode, I told myself that was so I could see how well it played that way, rather than simply being because it was late but I wanted to carry on playing so I took the Switch to bed with me. Pleased to report that the touchscreen is supported and worked well, although I still mostly used the same method I had with the Pro Controller.
I love the art for the scenery in this game. To be honest it played a big part in me wanting to give it a try, and I played the vast majority of it on my television and it still looked great. I’m not a fan of how the main character is drawn but I think that is just personal taste, everything else is great.
The animations are nice and sharp, though the people walking can be a bit surreal at times. I decided I liked it, it definitely grew on me after a while.
Music and Sound
The music is unobtrusive and really compliments the art in world building. The voice acting was also a pleasant surprise and I enjoyed the dialogue exchanges. We’re a long way from the origins of the genre, where voice acting was a luxury reserved for the CD ‘talkie’ version of a game.
If the point & click genre appeals to you, then this is a fine example and a really enjoyable story. That’s also assuming you can handle a story about a pandemic in 2022. It took me around 7 hours to complete, but if you’re less familiar with this style of game I can see it taking longer. This style of game is a nice fit for the Switch hardware, and although I mostly use mine docked I’d still recommend it even if you mostly play in handheld mode.
*As ever, these are affiliate links and I’ll get a small commission if you click through and buy something.