Unforeseen Incidents combines suspense with easy puzzles Point-and-Click Mystery

Game Review

Article from Issue 223/2019
Author(s):

In Unforeseen Incidents, a deadly virus and a spooky government quarantine are the prelude to an exciting point-and-click adventure for adults.

The phone rings as the protagonist, Harper Pendrell, reluctantly gets up from a mattress on his hobby room floor. It's Professor MacBride on the line (Figure 1), and once again, he is having problems with his laptop, which is urgently needed to evaluate research results. Harper grabs his universal multitool, which resembles a large Swiss army knife, and sets off for MacBride's lab – unaware that an adventure is about to begin.

Figure 1: In conversations such as this one with Professor MacBride, you not only learn interesting facts about the characters, but also get tips for solving the puzzles.

Epidemic with a Question Mark

In the lab, a quick cable repair solves the problem, and Harper can now return to his mundane life – if it weren't for a copiously bleeding woman whom he finds on his way home. She has all the symptoms of a highly contagious and quickly fatal virus currently afflicting the residents of Harper's small town.

The woman asks Harper to take an important document about the virus's origin to a journalist in a hotel on the town's outskirts. Even before Harper fully understands the situation, a panicked resident alerts the RHC, the health organization responsible for both investigating the disease on behalf of the government and providing appropriate quarantine measures.

Although the government claims to have the virus under control, it is slowly spreading throughout the country. Infected persons who have been quarantined never reappear. Moreover, the RHC's response is surprisingly quick: Only a few seconds after the panicked resident signals an alert, men in yellow protective suits pick up the sick woman (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Even before Harper can finish questioning the dying woman, two RHC employees take her away.

With the documents in hand, Harper has no choice but to search for the journalist. He receives help from Professor MacBride, who is interested in the new virus and is searching for an antidote. From here, Harper embarks on a dangerous journey meeting many strange characters and using his multitool along the way.

Classic Clicks

Unforeseen Incidents [1] is a point-and-click adventure in which you control the fortunes of Harper Pendrell. A mouse click sends the hero to the matching point in the landscape. After clicking on an object, Harper either makes a comment (Figure 3) or picks up the object, which the game stores along with all the other collected loot in a bar at the top of the screen (Figure 4).

Figure 3: Harper tends to be slightly sarcastic. If you click on an object repeatedly, he even gives you different comments.
Figure 4: Objects belonging together are grouped in the inventory at the top of the screen. Clicking on the multitool opens all the tools, for example.

You can use drag and drop to combine different objects. Talking with the town's residents follows the proven multiple-choice principle. In this way, numerous puzzles must be solved to move the story line forward. If you don't want to search the entire scene, press the space bar and the game will display all the items and people with whom interactions are possible.

While many of today's point-and-click adventures use cartoon or pixelated diagrams, Unforeseen Incidents offers a totally unique look. The hand-painted graphics (part graphic novel, part scribbled color sketch) underlines the somewhat gloomy background story creating an atmospheric mood.

In contrast, the animation is extremely reduced and awkward: Harper looks like he's walking on wooden legs. In addition, the game does not show some important actions onscreen. For instance, in a key scene with a large tractor, the game simply turns the screen black and outputs a sound effect.

Details

Unforeseen Incidents is the first release by Backwoods Entertainment, a small game developer studio from Bochum, Germany. You can purchase the game on Gog.com [2], Steam [3], and Humble [4] for $19.99. If you buy the game from Humble, however, you only receive one key to unlock the game on Steam. Gog.com offers a version without copy protection. On Gog.com, you can also purchase a digital art book and the game soundtrack for $2.99 each. Steam offers these extras bundled together with the game in a single package for $22.85. All sites offer the game in both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version.

To play Unforeseen Incidents on Linux, at a minimum, you will need Ubuntu 16.04 with SteamOS+, an Intel Core 2 Duo from 2GHz, and a graphics card with 1GB memory, 4GB RAM, and 6GB hard disk space. For Gnome users, see the "Gnome Bug" box.

Gnome Bug

If you start Unforeseen Incidents under Gnome, you will get a message that the game is not responding. Just wait a moment: After a short break, Unforeseen Incidents invites you to play despite the message.

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