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Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy Review

Game: Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy
Genre: Action, Adventure
System: Steam (Windows & macOS) (also on Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Ludomotion | Big Sugar
Controller Support: Yes
Price: UK £19.49 | US $29.99 | EU € 27,99
Release Date: May 27th, 2022

Review code provided with many thanks to Big Sugar Games

Ambitious Sequel

We are heading into a period of gaming where we’re starting to see a lot of indie developers create bigger and better sequels and it’s been wonderful to witness. Especially in a market where budgets for indie games are significantly lower than triple AAA titles. Titles like Spelunky and recently Rogue Legacy have had time spent on them to craft something that is deeper in gameplay and graphically superior, all while maintaining the spirit of the first entry in the series. Today’s game easily fulfils the criteria.

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is an intriguing adventure game that manages to cleverly blend rogue-lite elements with a tabletop feel. A unique game where every adventure feels unique and different and I highly recommend it.

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A dark and gloomy dungeon, what could go wrong?

The Quest of the Wayfarer 

You play as the Wayfarer, a mysterious traveller on a quest to destroy the Staff of Yendor. A staff that wields many powers but must ultimately be destroyed. Your journey will take you across an expansive, randomly generated map, which will alter every time you decide to start a brand new quest. With dungeons to raid, NPCs to talk to and plenty of lore to discover about the world, there’s plenty to see. The plot is quite vague and there’s little reason as to why your character chooses to go on this quest. But I kinda liked that, with a weird brain like mine it enabled me to come up with my own odd interpretation of the plot.

I settled on that my hero was passed the mantle of Wayfarer and is reluctant to complete the task that is bestowed by the family bloodline. So I chose to explore off the beaten path and discover my own adventure. But ultimately I learn that eventually everyone has to answer the call of destiny. We don’t all get to live the life we want. But there is always an opportunity to enjoy and take in our journey even if the ultimate quest is not what we truly want. It was a sad but hopeful plot in my head and I liked how the game gave me the opportunity to create this with its design. But if you just want to choose to see this as a sort of Lord of the Rings plot you can do that too.

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Meet the townsfolk

Adventure Awaits

Unexplored 2 plays in the top-down perspective. The game begins with a tutorial to get you to grips with the basic mechanics of the game like combat, repairing equipment and light puzzle solving. Once complete you then create your character from an extensive customization screen which lets you select all sorts of classes and perks and only increases with time. From there the game leads you to the town, Haven, to take on your main quest and meet several NPCs and vendors to interact with.

Once you have your main quest it’s up to you from there. Either use your map to follow the quest or veer off the beaten path and discover side quests in search of new gear and items. When you leave an area and travel to a new one you will most likely engage in random encounters which could mean dealing with some enemies, camping to repair items and cure status effects or simply just taking a stroll and finding the exit. These moments can sometimes feel a bit hit and miss and are not as interesting to explore as the dungeons and towns you will discover. 

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Create your hero with extensive options

Multiple Weapons

Tabletop mechanics play a big part in the game’s design. Often any action you take in the game, there is a die roll behind the scenes. You will often encounter dialogue or statues in the world where tokens are randomly drawn to determine whether the outcome is successful, neutral or failed. An example of this is you may encounter some bandits where you may be able to talk your way out of the encounter or you may be forced to engage in combat. You can collect crystals which allow you to add more tokens to the pool making a positive outcome more likely but these are limited. It does allow an extra bit of spice to the experience but it kinda sucks when things are going well and the dice rolls are just not in your favour.

You can access multiple weapons, both melee and throwable items. Equipment degrades so you often need to repair it. Weapons can be upgraded with perks making them more powerful, although, be aware that your inventory space is limited. Considering the game spends a good portion teaching it to you in the tutorial the main game actively encourages you to avoid conflict unless necessary. The trouble is you will eventually need to fight. It just feels a bit stilted and not precise. For me, combat was the weakest element of the game. 

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If this is a caterpillar, what’s the butterfly-like?

Discover For Yourself

This is not a title that holds your hand through its journey. A lot is left for the player to discover which I feel really adds to the immersion of the game. But on the flip side of that, this does not make for a pickup and play experience. Unexplored 2 is hard, it took many deaths before the game really started to click with me.

But once it did I became pretty engrossed in my adventure. I highly recommend exploring the game’s Steam page where the developer provides their own tips on the game if you find things a bit too tough. 

LadiesGamers Unexplored 2
You can go your own way

Sounds and Looks

The game’s world is brought to life with gorgeous cell-shaded 3D design. You’ll explore many areas both outdoors and indoors featuring unique foliage which you can often interact with and plenty of random animals roaming about. Lighting effects are also used to great effect when you enter dungeons and light up the darkness with your torch. This is a world that feels lived in, with ruins to explore and plenty of secrets to discover. My favourite part about the design was the little noises your characters make during test dialogue scenes, reminding me a lot of the noises you hear from NPCs in the 3D Zelda games. It just gives off this rather nice charm and warms you to your Wayfarer instantly.

To cap off the design the game presents with an immersive orchestral soundtrack that feels like something fit for a high budget fantasy film. Building at just the right moments whilst also providing plenty of calming atmospheres perfect for writing this review. You know me, this has already been purchased on Steam. 

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Stunning architecture

Replay Ability

When you die in the game you have the choice to restart your quest entirely from scratch or you can continue your current adventure years later with your items and progress passed on to the next Wayfarer. You can continue to attempt your adventure again and again until you reach the final leg of the quest, if you die here the game is over whether you succeed or fail. This adds an extra pretty tense twist on the rogue-lite experience which I dug.

The drive to start a brand new adventure gives plenty of incentive to come back to the game time and time again. If you find things too easy or tough you can add various tokens to the new game to make the experience more manageable or challenging depending on how you feel. In-game you are also able to switch on a few accessibility features if you’re finding the gameplay a bit much such as dealing double damage.

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Take a breather

Conclusion – A Road Worth Taking

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is a game that you will get more out of, the more you put into it. This is a slow burn rogue-lite that’s not your typical pickup and play experience the genre is known for. Combat is a bit weak and the random encounters between areas can feel a bit unnecessary. But if you stick with the game and it gets its claws into you, this is an experience that becomes incredibly immersive and unique. If you have a lot of time on your hands and want an epic adventure that you make your own then I highly recommend Unexplored 2.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot

I like it a lot

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