Unloved is one of those games that puts me at a loss for an intro. Typically, I like to start my reviews with a little anecdote to give you a bit of insight into who I am as a writer/gamer, and also provide the necessary context to the following review. When games are really good, this is easy; I can look back on good times I’ve had with previous entries in the franchise, or similar games that sparked my love for the genre. When games are really bad, I usually find a story about my brother and I, and look back on halcyon days and where it all went wrong.
But when games are just okay, or middle-of-the-road good, I always find myself at a loss. It’s hard to rail or praise when something is good enough to be enjoyed, but problematic enough that it’s not a real , masterpiece. And that leaves us with UNLOVED, a decent co-op, objective based shooter that’s a bit rough around the edges, but is ultimately a good time.
There’s not much in the way of story, as far as I can tell. You are a dude trapped in what appears to be a dilapidated building facing wave after wave of demons, Silent Hill nurses, scary clowns and other terrifying creatures. The main objective is escape and throughout the course of the game, players will be given objectives that they must complete before their escape elevator becomes active. A game of this kind doesn’t exactly need anything in the way of a story because that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to gun down legions of the undead and that’s all the context we need.
It follows proper wave-based protocol starting the player with a standard pistol which is pretty ineffective as the hordes increase, but definitely reliable in a pinch. As players make their way through the terrible building, they’ll be able to find weapon mods, armor and even bigger and better weapons like the Doom inspired “Super Shotgun.” Teamwork is essential and straying too far from your teammates will usually result in death, but does cause the problem that the game is essentially unplayable solo.
UNLOVED wears it’s horror theme with pride as the levels are dark and grungy adding a unique sense of tension to the otherwise action focused gameplay. The game makes use of a proper horror-styled ambiance in lieu of a heavy metal soundtrack that would’ve complimented the fast-paced gameplay and demonic themes.
But as is the problem with several indie-games on Steam, UNLOVED lacks the kind of polish a AAA game would have to make it a truly stand-out experience. It’s a bit graphically underwhelming, with some pretty janky character animations and disjointed effects, like spurts of blood that come off kind of pre-rendered and paper like. The controls are a bit clunky, which isn’t helped by most items very particular interaction box which makes trying to pick up items while avoiding enemies a bit of a chore.
But I can’t exactly fault a game with minimal means and a dev who doesn’t have a ton of experience under his belt, having only made two 2-D platformers before UNLOVED. Despite it’s flaws, UNLOVED is a fun game with a massive amount of replay value. For an inexpensive Steam purchase, it’s definitely worth a look.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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