Today’s look at a trio of recent ports points the spotlight at Unforeseen Incidents, a point and click adventure game about the threat of a global pandemic that originally came out in 2018 (yikes!). Also featured are puzzle adventure Summertime Madness and run and gunner Queeny Army.
Unforeseen Incidents was released by Application Systems Heidelberg way back in 2018 for PCs but has finally made it to the Nintendo Switch. It’s a classic point and click adventure that draws inspiration from the likes of Broken Sword and was partly developed by Alisdair Beckett-King, who previously gave us Nelly Cootalot.
In Unforeseen Incidents, you play as Harper Pendrell, who is an everyday kind of guy but gets caught up in a lengthy adventure that starts off with him just helping people out – something he’s used to doing thanks to a handy multi-tool he has with him. Harper gets drawn into a much larger plot when he comes across a woman on the verge of death, tries to figure out how she got sick in the first place and needs to prevent this from becoming a plague.
Although the subject matter is somewhat dark, the game uses a comic book-esque visual style and features plenty of more lighthearted conversations that make Harper’s tale not feel bleak. It does feel a bit more ‘indie’ than adventure games like Blacksad or even the older Broken Sword games though, which mainly shows in the crude animations but it easy to forgive in a well-crafted game like this.
Fans of point and click adventure games will feel right at home here, as progress through the story is made by finding objects, extracting information from conversations and combining and using said items to solve puzzles. While the user interface was originally designed for use on PCs where you’d likely use a mouse, it has been translated well to gamepad/handheld controls for the Switch conversion, and they never get in the way of your enjoyment – which is a good mix of puzzle solving, narrative development and conversations with generally well-developed and interesting characters.
Unforeseen Incidents is one of the better indie point and click adventure games we’ve seen in recent years, and it’s been well ported to the Nintendo Switch, which as a platform – unlike the PC – isn’t overflowing with quality adventure games yet. Well recommended, and you get a lot of value for money here when you look at the game’s length.
Summertime Madness is the latest port done by Sometimes You, bringing a game that was previously available on PC to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Despite the seemingly joyous title, it’s actually a puzzle adventure game set against a rather bleak background, kicking off in Prague in 1945 – World War II era.
The story features a painter, who uses his craft to try and forget about the war around him, and gets offered a mysterious deal – the chance to live inside his paintings, with the chance to return as long as he escapes before midnight. Taking the deal, the scene is set for a surreal kind of escape room adventure in which puzzles stand between you and a return to your normal life.
The standout feature of Summertime Madness is how it’s all presented visually. There’s a surreal handpainted feel to the 3D environments you traverse, and a nice sense of diversity, from outside vistas to interiors. A dream/fairytale-like feeling permeates the adventure, and I occasionally had some Alice in Wonderland vibes even though this one’s obviously far less silly in nature.
Unfortunately the story and puzzle designs don’t feel as well developed as the visuals, with tons of untapped potential in the narrative direction where the game doesn’t capitalize on the intriguing premise of this ‘deal’ the painter made nor does it do much with the occasional hints that reveal snippets of the artists’ own demons and personal history. And while the puzzle part starts off strong as you attempt to escape a ship, later sections often have you struggling with mazes that made little sense without the help of an online map and/or guide – which is always a shame in a puzzle game as you stop feeling immersed with it the second you have to resort to that. There are definitely better puzzle adventures out there, but at its budget price this might be worth a look even if it’s for its gorgeous audiovisual style.
With a title like Queeny Army, I really had no idea what to expect, but this port of a 2019 PC title is actually an homage to games like Contra and Midnight Resistance, classic run ‘n gun games from the arcades of the 1980s that predate more modern takes on the genre like the Metal Slug games. It’s come to consoles now thanks to Eastasiasoft, who are looking to make 2022 another prolific year.
The title of the game actually refers to the rather large roster of characters you can choose from in the game, with a full dozen of all-female warriors ready to take to the battleground for you. Although games like this don’t really rely on much story exposition, Queeny Army does provide little bios on all the characters and has cutscenes for you to check as well, though they’re mostly just written text and you can skip them if you feel like getting right to the action instead.
While the game doesn’t bring a whole lot of new things to the table beyond the female roster and narrative setup, it does tick many of the boxes you’d expect for a game of this type. There’s a healthy arsenal of weapons to pick up, multiple difficulty levels provide an appropriate level of challenge, and as with any classic run and gunner there’s a bit of platforming involved as well. Some sections can be tricky, but a checkpoint is usually conveniently placed right after a tough fight or tricky platforming section.
If you enjoy run and gun games, then this one’s a must have at its extremely budget-friendly price point. There’s plenty of content to enjoy, and with a diverse cast of heroes there’s some replay value as well. Trophy hunters will probably enjoy the fact that you can nab a platinum within the scope of half an hour as well, but this is a game that we recommend playing all the way through to the end – it’s a more than competent slice of classic arcade-inspired fun.