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Weird and Wonderful Things Have Happened!

  • Liberty
  • 05/05/2016 12:54 PM
Weird and Unfortunate Things are Happening is a game by unity, with the help of a whole bunch of talented people. As the title says, it is weird, and unfortunate things happen. It's also quite fun and a rather highly polished demo that deserves quite a clap on the back for the team.

Seriously, great job all!

It is currently in a demo form and thus I won't be giving an official star rating, though I will add my unofficial score after going through the details.

This game absolutely shines. You can tell (not only by the long list of testers added to the description page, but also by the product itself) that the game was very carefully gone over with a fine tooth comb, in search for those illusive mistakes, errors and bugs.

I found only a few punctuation errors in the writing, which was very good. The dialogue was quirky, funny, silly and very enjoyable to read through. The characters are solid and very well written, with their personalities shown clearly through their written interactions.

I did feel that some of the characterisation went a bit 'beating dead horse' - the same joke of "You're an asshole." being repeated got a little tiring, especially after all that Our Little Friend had done for Alicia already. Just a small nit-pick though.

I was a little sad that poses weren't part of the characterisation since I feel like little movements during scenes would have really made it pop a bit more, but I can forgive that since it's a lot of work that might be considered unnecessary. It would help the dialogue scenes feel a little more dynamic and alive, though, but I guess the portraits existed for that reason.

Speaking of the portraits, they were very well done, capturing the emotions and reactions of the different characters quite well. They really helped the characters feel more like they had depth and they looked great to boot. (Though there was something weird about Vi's face that I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe the placement of her nose? It was odd enough that it halted my reading when she talked, trying to figure out what was odd about her. Maybe it was her head shape. I'm not sure. Another small nitpick. You know if I'm breaking out the nitpicks there's not many issues in the game.)

The rest of the graphics are what some would call 'Earthbound-esque', using flat colours and shading with a simplistic style. It looked great and fit together really well (though the high-polish of the facesets did stand out a bit in comparison. Not a bad thing, just an observation.) The mapping was well-done and though the maps felt a bit static due to lack of much movement in them, they were interesting and fun to explore.

I also want to say that I love the battle animations. I noticed that they were all custom and they fit really well. I was especially a fan of the healing one and the defence/shield-type. Swell job on that! They fit so well with the different system graphics and really stood out as something unique to the game.

Speaking of the menu system, it was sleek, polished and flowed well together. All the menus looked great and the font was easy-to-read and gave the game a casual-yet-polished feel.

Sound was a bit hit and miss for me. I loved the sounds in general and a lot of the music was great but I've never been a big fan of intelligible lyrics in music that is played in-game (barring special scenes - FF6's Opera House, for example). That said, everything used did fit (even if it was a bit loud in some areas - I had to turn my speakers down a bit when certain songs came on.)

The sound effects... I didn't really notice them. They didn't stand out much but on the other hand, they didn't stand out too much, so they worked well. If they were custom I couldn't tell you. I don't <em>think</em> they were default RTP but don't quote me on that!

Pacing was pretty good for the most part. The only issue I had with it was the sudden cut from introduction to time skip. It felt a bit sudden to me. I would have liked to have gotten to know Dottie a little more, maybe explored her room or something just to ease the player into the world. I am not saying that it started badly - the fact that you flashed back and forth made for good story telling and it was probably for the best that the scenes didn't drag on enough to make the player bored. It just felt a bit "Suddenly, Dottie's in trouble! Go save her!"

At that point we didn't know Dottie much so asking the player to care about her well-being was a bit of a bolt out of the blue, even if you were her aunt. We'd known her for all of 1 minute, so it felt very much like "Mario, Princess Peach is kidnapped. Go save her!" which is a bit bare when it comes to a game that is more story-driven. Granted, we do get to know her better over the course of the game, it just felt a little jarring to me at the time.

I found no bugs. Seriously, not even a passability issue. The tester team must have gone over everything with a fine-tooth comb because I found not a single problem on the map or in battles, which is amazing. There's almost always one thing that I find that makes me go "Hah! Gotcha!" but in this? Nope. Not a one. Congratulations bug sweepers!

On map interactions were pretty basic - you run around and interact with shining points in order to get treasure, run into coins to pick them up and collect some goodies in order to trade for better goodies. There were also healing spheres on the maps that decreased the encounter bar a nice amount which you could run in to in order to help you elongate you exploration a bit.

The game had four modes of difficulty. I stuck with the default - Lucid Dream - and found the game pretty easy. Not much of a challenge - I think I only used about 5 of the first base healing items. I didn't try the harder modes, but you can change between them in-game which is a nice touch if you wanted to challenge yourself a bit more.

Monsters were initially on-map encounters, but became random encounters after a particular plot point. The usual tedium of using random encounters was bypassed with the use of the aforementioned healing spheres, which was a great touch if you just wanted to run around and explore. An extra layer was added to the encounter bar in that if you killed enough monsters in an area they'd be more reluctant to fight you and thus the bar would not fill up quite so much. It was a really nice touch and I wish more games would use something like that. You could still grind up if you wished, but it was easy to breeze through the area if you didn't wish to fight, too.

Characters had their own skillsets. Alicia used Psychic-type skills in addition to her normal attacks and Miriam used special bullets to increase her own damage output, said bullets being in limited supply and findable around the different areas. Both actually work well in tandem as every attack had set enemies they would work better on, most of the time more than one type.

It helped a lot that this information was not obscured or left to guessing (bar a few cases where the type was hidden and you had to figure out for yourself what they were weak to). The help window in battle not only showed what monster types the skills effected, but also what type each monster was. It was a refreshing change from having to guess.

Alicia also has the added ability to learn new skills by accessing a skill area, which let her spend coins that were dropped by enemies (and found on the map) in order to pay for new abilities. There were three different skill trees, as well as a passive tree, but only some of the skills were available in the demo. It was a varied set, though, and each of them brought something new to the battles, making them all useful in their own ways.

You could save everywhere, which was neat, and there were some special treasures you could get if you explored enough and completed small sidequests. Overall, the gameplay was fun and engaging and it kept me playing without stopping (except for when I had to go eat dinner, though I would have pushed that back until after the game was finished if it weren't for nagging. XD )

It was fun. A lot of fun. There were some minor points where I thought 'this could be done a little better' but overall I found the game enjoyable and engaging and interesting, which is really all you can want from a game.

I can't wait until the full game comes out! Count me subscribed (as though I already wasn't. Psh!)


Weird and Unfortunate Things are Happening is one of the most polished demos I've ever had the pleasure of playing. I highly recommend that everyone drop what they're playing and play this instead. It's a neat little demo that showcases just what unity can do with a team of talent added to her own formidable skills. It's a gem shining brightly and I hope the full game lives up to what we've seen of it thus far. If it does, I look forward to the day it's gracing the front page in the Featured Game spot.

I don't give star ratings for demos, but if I did this would be a 4.5 - and only because I balk completely at giving 5 stars to an unfinished product. If the complete version is as good, then it'll easily net a 5-star rating from me.

But here, have four and a half weird things instead!


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You're magical to me.
;_; I'm so happy that this review could be saved! Thanks, Malandy, for having a back-up, and of course a huge thanks to Liberty for writing it in the first place :DDDDD
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