We had gotten a first taste of Unusual Findings by the Argentinean Epic Llama last year, around this time. The demo that had appeared at that Steam Next Fest was "spot-on", as it was a pure point 'n' click adventure that seemed to be fully influenced by the 80s and the corresponding movies of the era, such as Goonies or Stand by Me. Of course, it would be a great omission not to mention that the huge success of Stranger Things was, in all likelihood, the reason for the creation of this adventure. However, it would be equally wrong to talk about a stylistic copy of the TV series, since Stranger Things, too, essentially bases its existence on the revival of that era. Therefore, the presence of Unusual Findings stands completely on its own as yet another homage to the "glorious" decade. Whether it is equally worthy, you'll find out right away.

The story of Unusual Findings takes us to a Christmas in the 80's, where the protagonists are three friends: Vinny, Nick and Tony. As at the time, kids didn't have internet to keep them dumbed down busy and sitting quietly at home, the three boys spent their hours experimenting with various chemicals. The result was a loud explosion that caused extensive damage to Vinny's neighbour's garden, which in turn led their parents to punish them with the classic "grounded". That means no more rides and no more video games (on the incredibly powerful 8bit consoles). Of course, what kid listens to their parents on such punishments? No one. So here too, our friends are running away from their homes in order to watch free... adult movies, with the help of a satellite-patented by the "smart" one of the gang Tony.

While trying to locate the... "key to paradise", they pick up a strange signal, which looked so obscure that it could have been either Chinese or... Soviet (what else?). However, seconds after receiving the signal, the three of them witness a meteor crashing into the nearby forest. So what could be more normal than to investigate the incident, even though they are technically grounded. And so they do, with the three besties running into the woods and coming into contact with an alien being, which even kills a ranger who was wandering around in the woods and disappears.

If the next logical thing to do would be to alert the authorities, you are sorely mistaken. No one is going to believe their story, so they decide to take action themselves and trap the alien. Needless to say, the case isn't as simple as it sounds and soon revelations will start to come out that wouldn't even cross their minds - even though they've read so many comics.

There will always be a homeless person who knows a lot.

In general, the story of Unusual Findings is entertaining, has a lot of mystery (at least until the first revelations are made), and has a similar naivety as the related films of the period. Certainly, if you lived through that era, you'll appreciate what Unusual Findings is trying to do a bit more, as the whole 80's approach is very apt. Both from the pixel-art aesthetic that's straight out of an old LucasArts adventure, as well as the bright colors, the brilliant music (there are several licensed tracks, the first and best being Dead or Alive's "You Spin me Round"), the clichéd characters (like Bull who reminds me of a third-rate Rambo or the bummers who, in their madness, know everything) and the "innocence" of the era versus the dizzying rise of technology. It's hard not to be moved by an above fourty-years-old player watching all of this, though the relatively mediocre level of writing, both in terms of storytelling and dialogue, grounds us in grim reality.

We're not sure if it's a "loss" in the translation from Spanish, however, Unusual Findings doesn't impress with its writing: whether it's just a few typos here and there (which will obviously be solved with a patch) or the humour that isn't always as apt or as clever as it thinks it is. By no means is this a bad work, but when compared to productions we've played recently, Unusual Findings probably lags behind them.

Snitching on someone...
...can have unforeseen consequences!

However, the game offers something that is not very common in traditional point 'n' click adventures and that is the choice & consequence situations. We should mention that the main hero of the game is Vinny, who we control throughout the game, with Nick and Tony following close behind. So on several occasions, we will be asked to give some responses to some people or even our own friends. Depending on the style of these responses, some of the game's puzzles change completely, items are added or disappear, and there's even the possibility of visiting completely different places from another playthrough. For example, if we tell Nick off for something he said, the next time he's in trouble, he'll be more aggressive than if we went along with it. And the existence of several optional puzzles contributes to the variety of performances, and the fact that there are three different endings leads to the conclusion that this is a game that "cries out" to be played more than once.

Well, don't swear...

Whether you do this, of course, depends on how much you clicked with the game. Unusual Findings proves to be a relatively "tough nut to crack" in terms of difficulty level, for two reasons: on the one hand because it leaves the player free to visit several locations of each chapter without restrictions, on the other hand because of the clear lack of guidance. The latter probably contributes to the "old-school" nature, as even the adventures of the 80's didn't have a journal or hints to guide us, nevertheless there are not a few times when we find ourselves clicking everything with everything (with objects in the environment and inventory) in order to make some kind of sense of it. And objectives are only revealed to us through dialogue, as are the corresponding hints on how to complete them, so if we're not careful when reading them, it's possible to get stuck for hours.

In each chapter, there is such a map for quick transition. All locations are accessible from the start.

The bad thing is that there are some puzzles that have the so-called "moon-logic", especially after half of the game. And there are cases where you can only find the solution by chance, such as the puzzle with Tony and the cheerleader (but not necessarily that you will meet it in your own playthrough) or the time-consuming puzzle with the arcade Street Puncher. Of course, most of its puzzles are in the spirit of the time, as long as you have a general idea of how things worked back then. For example, how do you fix a cartridge that doesn't work when you put it in the console (answer: you blow it up)? Or' that sometimes the arcade cabs needed a little "push" to give something "extra".

However, the handling is pretty simple, with three verbs essentially doing all the work (look, grab and talk), which automatically change if the hotspot we're targeting has a unique function (e.g. blow, punch, examine). Thank goodness the Epic Llama people thought to add hotspot indicator, otherwise we'd have had bigger problems. It's worth mentioning that there is no normal save mode, only auto-save (!) at certain points in the game or when we quit, with the obvious reason being to avoid save scamming when we are called upon to make a decision. The fact that we can't lose, somewhat mitigates the initially negative impression this lack gave us, and after a few hours of progress, we forgot about it completely.

Galaxy Wars: The Return.

Speaking of hours, the length of a typical playthrough of Unusual Findings can exceed six. A number that doesn't seem that high on paper, but once there are alternative paths to try, then the game automatically gets more value. Just not as much as we might have expected, but then again, we're spoiled after so many good adventures released recently and when a new production doesn't reach the same high standards, we nag.

In conclusion, Unusual Findings is a light and entertaining adventure, but it had a lot of room for improvement, especially in the aspect of writing and some puzzles, in order to present something even more remarkable. The alternate endings and the, to a satisfying degree, different experience on each playthrough are undoubtedly its great strengths, it just hardly manages to leave you with a stronger impression than that of merely "good".


RATING - 75%


Spin me right 'round

A strong love letter in the 80's, with alternate endings and plenty of puzzles, but with mediocre writing and some "moon logic".

Γιώργος Δεμπεγιώτης

Lover of action, shooter, adventure, RPG's and sometimes racing games, he prefers mainly single-player gaming. Every now and then he breaks out into a multi, but he doesn't overdo it.


  1. Ζώρζ, απόλυτα εύστοχη κριτική, προσυπογράφω 100%.

    Το ξεκίνησα κι εγώ με ενθουσιασμό από το ντέμο και σύντομα έπεσα στην ξέρα της ρηχής γραφής και τα ’80’ς για τα 80’ς’. Δεν είναι ποτέ δυσάρεστο, αλλά ακριβώς όπως έγραψες, με τόσες αντβεντσουράρες που παίξαμε εσχάτως, φαντάζει συνεχώς πολύ λίγο. Η νοσταλγία είναι καλή τα πέντε πρώτα λεπτά, μετά που περνάμε στο παρασύνθημα όμως, ο Βασιλιάς είναι αν όχι γυμνός, με τις κάλτσες και τη σωβρακοφανέλα.

    Νομίζω θα το τελειώσω τσούκου τσούκου, αλλά μετανιώνω που το στήριξα στο ΚΣ.

  2. Κρίμα, αλλά η αλήθεια είναι πως ακριβώς έτσι το περίμενα από το demo του:
    [QUOTE=”maladroid, post: 582789, member: 102613″]
    [B]Unusual Findings[/B]: Άλλη μια προσπάθεια που καπηλεύεται την -ιδιαιτέρως ανθεκτική- τρέλα του κόσμου για το Stranger Things. Περίεργο που έκανε τόση αίσθηση σε Στέφανο και Γιώργο, προσωπικά βρήκα ένα μέτριο κείμενο με ελάχιστα ψήγματα χιούμορ, κλισέ story, και μέτρια voice-overs. Υπάρχουν κι ένας-δύο υποτυπώδεις γρίφοι στο demo αλλά δεν προσφέρονται για να βγουν συμπεράσματα. Στα θετικά η ευχάριστη ρετροπιξελούμπα και το έξυπνο μοντάζ στους τίτλους αρχής με τα παιδιά να διαπερνούν την πόλη καβάλα στα ποδήλατα.

    Βέβαια, για να μην το παίζω έξυπνος, στο ίδιο post είχα γράψει ότι και το demo του Tunic μου φάνηκε ψόφιο αλλά όταν τελικά έπαιξα το full game μου ‘φυγε η μαγκιά.
    Μάλλον η αραχνοαίσθηση πιάνει μόνο σε ορισμένα είδη παιχνιδιών. 🤷‍♂️

  3. [QUOTE=”maladroid, post: 609952, member: 102613″]
    Κρίμα, αλλά η αλήθεια είναι πως ακριβώς έτσι το περίμενα από το demo του:

    Τότε “πείνουσαμε” για adventures. Μετά το φετινό φαγοπότι, οι μετριότητες δεν μας ικανοποιούν. 🙂

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