[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]any of us are looking for a way to go back in time, in order to find that lost feeling of joy and wonder that enveloped us as children. Unfortunately due to a lack of working time machines, we’re left with a more natural, practical method of revisiting our younger selves. Unraveled, by RosePortal Games, is so close to achieving that, by emulating a wonderland as realized by a young girl who lost her parents. Starting off in a ship-breaking yard where her father works, the wordless protagonist is searching with her companion, a small monster doll, who eventually becomes her real adventure partner when her imagination flares up. First encountering a giant spider, her monster helps defeat it, which turns out after the battle, the spider is just a normal arachnid. Unraveled takes an ordinary (and sad) adventure and gives it the imaginative overhaul one would expect in an episode of Rugrats. A run-of-the-mill ship-breaking yard becomes a wondrous wasteland from the dilapidated tiers of construction, to the underwater world waiting just below.
Unraveled also offers a unique twist on turn-based combat that adds a new tactical dimension to battles. Party members and enemies have a calm/anger meter, which is influenced by the type of attacks they use. Calm attacks lower the meter into the Anger end of the spectrum, making anger attacks stronger, and allowing the player to use higher level anger attacks. This method is reversed when anger attacks are used, raising the meter into the calm zone. When any given character’s meter is in either zone, they are more vulnerable to attacks of the opposite type. This may sound a little confusing, but a battle or two will straighten things up when the player gets accustomed to the balance of battle. Post-battle accolades are rewarded, offering a boost in attack, health, or a percentage upgrade to technique effectiveness.
The battles of Unraveled do well to break up the overworld crawling and exploration, but another shining gem embedded in this title is the soundtrack. A combination of piano and electronic drum kits overlay well in this moody tale, and flawlessly merge the player into the game atmosphere. Such a fairy tale-like story couldn’t go without the melancholic yet adventurous tone set by the music, and according to the Kickstarter, the developers have been in contact with Hiroki Kikuta, composer of Secret of Mana, about doing the soundtrack should they reach their stretch goal of $50k.
Aside from battle and exploration, Unraveled has another feature of note, and a strange one at that. At certain points in the game, a doorway will appear that the player may use to enter the dollhouse. Inside this 80’s-themed kid’s toy house, the player may speak to the dog toy and order furniture for the home, using the orbs they’ve collected in the overworld. After placing the furniture, an item bonus will appear in a chest that will help the player in the main story. It’s a weird, precious feature that won’t go overlooked as a gimmick, as it’s a silly experience that actually contributes to the main point in the game.
Overall, Unraveled is a very unique game world, that serves as a platform to raise awareness about the toxic environments that real world ship-breaking yards create, a cause the developers have dedicated the project to. This RPG can be found on Kickstarter complete with a demo, and has been Greenlit on Steam. RosePortal can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.