Actions have consequences. Unrest is a game based on this simple tenet. The role-playing game, created by indie studio Pyrodactyl Games, will challenge your mind and your ability to do the right thing. The game is set in ancient India in a time of famine, and you take the role of several characters. With each individual story, what you do and experience will have an effect on the overall theme. You will play as a peasant girl who doesn’t want to go through with her arranged marriage, an elderly priest, the chief of the mercenary guild and more. Each character has their own role within the famine, and each has many different choices to make that affect the direction in which the game can be taken – but it is up to you to decide their fate.
The environment and surroundings that Pyrodactyl Games have created are incredibly immersive. Each character has a different location, and although this story is based around the city-state of Bhimra, there are enough environmental differences to keep the game from becoming repetitive. The soundtrack has its own twist for each character, aided greatly by the minimalist art.
Every decision you make or sentence you speak when communicating with another character matters. When in conversation, a HUD is displayed showing dialogue options and responses; a sentence may be classed as agreeable or a direct, and all will affect a character’s feelings towards your character. This is also indicated on the HUD with words such as “Adored”, “Admiration” and “Unconcerned”. Every response can have an affect on the future. The care that Pyrodactyl Games have taken with Unrest is really something to behold, giving you the power to shape the destiny of others, even if sometimes the effects are comparatively minute.
Although the characters you play as all have their own unique story, they all orbit a central theme. In other games, some of these characters would be considered small or secondary, but Pyrodactyl Games really make you care about them. Not only will you care for them, but you will often find your morals being tested. You may become selfish when in control of a certain character and you may find yourself working against their best interests – though that could be different when it comes to other characters. One thing is for sure: you will go through many, many emotions and be forced to act in certain ways that may or may not be best for others, even if they are for you.
If you want to escape for a couple of hours, an RPG like Unrest will definitely get the job done, depending on how much you are willing to invest in it. It’s not very long, but for the few hours you spend flitting amongst this vast array of characters, Unrest is an unorthodox and generally pleasurable game to play. It is not without its flaws though. In certain chapters and as certain characters, I found myself not caring as much as I had in others, and not seriously thinking about what I was going to say when communicating and how it would affect me and others – and when a game is so set around dialogue and the choices you make, something has gone wrong somewhere if you start to lose interest.
VERDICT: Unrest doesn’t offer much more than playing as characters, having conversations and dictating where their lives are going. It might offer a diversion for a while if you’re a fan of character-driven RPGs, but it’s unlikely to entice newcomers to the genre.
DECENT. A 6/10 indicates that, while this game could be much better, it still has a fair amount to offer the player. It might be an interesting title sabotaged by its own ambition, or a game denied greater praise by some questionable design choices. Don’t avoid it outright, but approach it with caution.
Review code provided by publisher.