Unsighted is a fantastic top-down action game with Metroidvania and Souls elements, all wrapped up in a sinister plot. You play Alma, a powerful human-like robot known as an automaton that awakens with amnesia in the dystopian world of Arcadia. Her top priority is to locate her loving partner, Raquel, who has vanished. The automaton-populated city is running out of Anima, which is a less personal but still unpleasant note. This priceless resource is the source of humanity in these machines. It enables them to think and feel as humans do, yet without it, they revert to mindless beasts known as Unsighted. That implies you and everyone else are living on borrowed time on a planet already overrun with these unlucky creatures.
You know how certain video game plots are set in a race against the clock, but you have unlimited time?
Unsighted isn’t joking when he says that. Everyone’s life expectancy is measured in hours, which is steadily decreasing. Supporting characters, quest-giver NPCs, shopkeepers, and even your Navi-like fairy robot companion are all at risk of going blind. You are included in this. Some people have 500 hours under their belts, while others have only 100. An in-game clock with a day/night cycle, as well as a contact list of every noteworthy person you meet, helps you keep track of how much time is left. The premise is intriguing, but it also appears to be stressful. We were concerned that we would have to speed through a lovely setting—Unsighted is a lovely game—to save as many lives as possible. That would be wonderful in this context, but the game also allows you to take your time. Days pass far more quickly than in real-time, but not quickly enough to make you feel compelled to speedrun the journey. We’ve spent our time exploring Arcadia thoroughly, but we’ve also discovered that racing through dungeons without skimping on hidden treasures and improvements has been a delightful challenge.
Finding meteor dust, a semi-rare item that adds 24 hours to anyone’s clock, can help you and others prolong their life. We find it satisfying to merely assist characters we enjoy, but there are also monetary benefits to having someone around. Giving shop owners meteor dust increases their favor, as measured by hearts, and results in discounts. My weapon-smith had less than three weeks to live, but we gave him some dust so we could afford a formidable flaming sword. Shop owners also suggest that given enough time, they may develop powerful things. At the cost of three helpings of meteor dust, another character grants additional estus flask-style healing syringes. This approach provides a fun challenge through conundrums. Do you help a side character solely to keep them around, help a vendor gain crucial equipment, or use it on yourself? Knowing how much time even the most insignificant NPC has left gives a great sense of urgency, as well as a constant sense of melancholy and purpose. Given his knife-like limbs, a cheery pet shop owner with a spider-like physique told me his dream was to develop a way to safely pet dogs without scaring them. We looked at how much time he had left, breathed a sigh of relief that he still had, and made it our mission to make sure he lived long enough to pet a dog. The plot twists and turns depending on who survives and for how long, with different endings thrown in for good measure. As a result, you may miss out on important plot points, giving you plenty of reasons to return to Unsighted after the credits have rolled.
We get more attached to characters as a result of the timer since we can’t take their presence for granted. With NPCs, there appear to be some emergent moments as well. While exploring, our fairy-bot came to a halt to tell us about her long-lost sister, whom she wants to track down one day, perhaps launching a new storyline. Though we haven’t lost anyone yet (though an elderly farmer is on the verge of death), we’ve decided that if they die, they die and that we will see the tale through no matter what happens, despite the possibility of heartbreak. The setup is fantastic, but Unsighted is also a joy to play. The fast-paced melee fighting is fantastic, and a gratifying parry allows for devastating counterattacks. Alma can be equipped with a variety of melee weapons and firearms (all of which have an active reload), and you can mix and match as you see appropriate. With a katana/blaster load-out, you can blend close quarters and ranged offense. Looking for a game that’s similar to a twin-stick shooter? Use a shotgun and a machine pistol in tandem. Alternatively, go all-out barbarian with a heavy ax/sword combination. Weapons can also be utilized to solve puzzles in the environment, such as guiding a huge shuriken to hit distant switches or carrying flames to torches. Without feeling unduly restricted, a stamina meter adds strategic attentiveness to confrontations.
You can personalize Alma with a variety of chips that provide bonuses such as greater health, stamina, or buffs such as health-draining assaults or faster reload times. Because you only have a specific number of chip slots, you’ll have to switch load-outs for various battles. You can get more at special healing terminals. Additionally, temporary cogs provide limited-use enhancements such as increased attack strength for a defined number of swings or resurrection after death. Alma’s sleek, quick movement complements the conflict. It doesn’t take long before you’re joyously moving around regions while slicing foes to scrap because of the way she runs, hops, and climbs up objects. Unsighted recognizes how effective it is at playing by presenting players with a decent number of platforming difficulties, which is unusual in a game with this perspective, but it works. It’s also a lot of fun to explore Unsighted’s massive globe. The game is essentially a top-down Metroidvania in which your primary objective is to collect five scattered meteor shards, each of which is guarded by a large monster. You can go after shards in whatever sequence you want, but certain obstacles will be blocked until you buy or find a weapon to clear them. Along the way, you’ll come across side missions, lore nuggets, and other mysteries worth going out of your way to unearth — assuming you think the time is worth it.
With Unsighted, we’re having a great time. The action is fast-paced, and the ticking time adds a sense of urgency to your efforts. The planet and its legends are fascinating, and the presentation is stunning. We’re excited to watch how our trip plays out and who manages to preserve their sanity by the finish. Unsighted will be available on September 30 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC, as well as Xbox Game Pass.