Step out of your DeLorean for Unusual Findings, a nostalgia-goggled, narrative point and click adventure game developed by Epic Llama. Its wild narrative takes you on a journey to save the earth from alien invaders while immersed in the vibe of the 80s. It’s filled with Easter eggs and references to not only a plethora of movies and games but also the general life experience of that time.
The game follows the conventional playstyle of classic point and click games. For the uninitiated, this means using your mouse clicks to navigate through the world. You also use your mouse clicks to interact with everything you encounter in the world. This interaction involves making a choice between grabbing, looking or talking to whatever object or NPC is selected.
Unusual Findings is densely populated with interactables in certain areas of the game. This did lead to a feeling of imprecision with the clicking. This comes down to misclicking hitboxes and the world being overstuffed with interactables.
The one aspect that could cause confusion in players is the method in which its branching path operates. Your interactions with the NPCS and the choices you make close off certain solutions to puzzles while opening others. There isn’t really any indication to when a choice changes your path, therefore you’re simply left to stumble around until you find a solution though the many different areas each chapter has.The plot is a coming of age tale about three friends who stumble across a rogue Alien signal while attempting to hack into an HBO equivalent. Their investigation into the discovery quickly turning into a life or death situation.
The characters you meet throughout your adventure are distinct and charming. My favorite is “The Bull” who serves as the dangerous but protective mentor throughout the course of the plot.
It’s important to note that the setting is faithful to the nostalgic vision of the 80s. This extends to the writing and jokes found throughout the plot. It comes across as an honest look at the remembrance of an era that is long gone. That is to say, sensitive gamers may find that certain elements don’t fit within the current paradigm of today. People familiar with content from the 80s will already know that to be true, however, and won’t have issues with anything.
The game is full of references to 80s movies and video games. A lot of these come in the form of voice lines that can be accessed via the read,look interactions. They are always from the perspective of a cinephile who lived in the decade. As an individual studying film, I found them delightful.
The puzzles mostly follow one of two methods. The first is by finding items or combining them to create what you need to solve or get past whatever is blocking you. The other is through talking to people and learning information that you then typically tell someone else in the game world.
There’s no way around that the puzzles can at times be frustratingly difficult. Very often you’ll get no hints on how to proceed, a fact that became very clearly pronounced to me in the third chapter. The worst offender being the lipstick that you need to give to a girl in an abandoned warehouse. She hints that she likes lipstick and wants to buy more, but simply says thanks when you deliver it. The trick being that you are required to repeat an interaction with the rest of the gang that resides there, which concludes in one of them passing out and thus allowing you to get the item you need.
All of the above is presented in pixel art, as you can see in the images presented. I never had any problems determining what items were supposed to be. Overall, this creates a solid foundation for the nostalgia the game wants its players to feel.
If you don’t enable streamer mode, there is a segment that plays You Spin Me Round by dead or alive early in the adventure. While a classic 80s song, I found the selection to detract from the scene it’s included in. The original soundtrack however consists of a few synthwave tracks that play in the background of the action. None of them particularly standout or are memorable in of themselves, but they do help set the ambience as you explore the levels and spend your time solving the puzzles.
Unusual findings is a decent enough experience. It’s best suited for those who enjoy difficult point and click adventure titles or those seeking to dip into 80s nostalgia.