Unlucky Seven Review: Out of Luck
Unlucky Seven, brought to you by the studio Puzzling Dream, presents itself as a graphic adventure of sorts telling the story of seven characters with an interesting premise that regrettably crumbles fast.
The title screen gives almost like a game a horror-like vibe loading it up, but that doesn't really flow into the game itself. That's okay, though: The title screen's the best part of the game.
Unlucky Seven starts off with a robot and an anthropomorphic alligator inside a dark, muddy room. They talk about a "Alcoholics Anonymous meeting", and the croc explains their plan to sneak into it, turn the thing into a party with alcohol and chemicals, and then kill everyone. Okay then.
So I'm sitting there, watching this scene unfold, and quickly realize that I can't click my way through it. You only have to use your keyboard or a gamepad, with "E" being your left click. This unfortunately proved to be the first of many technical and control issues.
The game's movement isn't as smooth as someone would expect from the adventure genre, which has the bar for controls set low in the first place.
Instead of clicking somewhere on the ground, or just moving straight from left to right, the game requires keyboard movement in pseudo-3D environments. You can move back and forth towards notable items in the environment, but only in a designated path. This makes for some real clunky exploration, especially when most of the game requires you to search rooms looking for a couple of items to progress.
Sometimes it takes a while for your character to recognize a movement. In many situations, interacting with an object moves your character away from it, forcing you to wait for the object's name to show up on the screen to interact with it all over again.
I'd like to say "technicalities aside" and move on, but this was just the start of a bad foundation for Unlucky Seven that intertwine with everything else. Movement is key in a game like this, along with dialogue. The developers seemed to want to escape from the standards of the genre, but just failed at it. Miserably.
Conversations are painfully slow, and the voice acting is atrocious. I get it, it's an indie game, but it sounds as if the folks behind it were trying too hard to get into character. At their best, they're hilarious; at their worst, they're painful. It doesn't help the game seems to have been translated from Polish to English via Google Translate or something, either.
Dialogue pushes itself to be the most cringe version of itself in every given occasion despite the poor translation. It feels like the kind of writing you'd find in a teenage-written fanfic, only that they're trying to sound serious here. Real serious. It's terrible.
The premise of the game have always been to have a cast of anthropomorphic (See: furry) characters, but it seems like development has been under significant changes ever since their Indiegogo campaign. You can really feel the shift in development in the game itself, and it's not pretty.
The anthro characters are present in the game as a choice. When you're meeting a new character, you're presented with the option to choose either the animal or the human form. It's odd, and the ways this is brought up make it seem almost like a joke.
The worst one by far is an android that asks you which head to use. I picked the anthropomorphic option, as I did with the rest of the characters, and the response was, "Strange that this choice was left to me. One day we'll all be damned by this excess of freedom."
It was due to moments like this where it was clear how unimportant the tone and character representation was for the developers. The overall clunkiness of control and overwhelming amount of confusing and straight out boring puzzles that made me glad to uninstall Unlucky Seven, and hopefully forget about it..
- Lighting and atmosphere
- Neat art style
- Painful controls
- Disgusting tone
- Laughable writing
- Boring puzzles
- Unimaginative tasks that get tiresome fast
I'm always up for new experimental stories. Unlucky Seven seemed like just that from trailers alone, but it turned out to be much more tedious and confused about itself than it seemed. Maybe I would have gave the tanky controls a pass if the story was at least somewhat interesting or promised something deeper than anthro cannibals, but this isn't the case.
Unlucky Seven's pacing seems obsessed with needless puzzles and item gathering, while some bugs also get in the way of an already troubled experience. It doesn't seem like the game is interested in respecting the player's time, so don't bother respecting it with a purchase.
[Note: A copy of Unlucky Seven was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.]