What was intended to be a mini adventure quickly became one of the best games of its kind. The game is Unhallowed, the “trick-or-treat” Blerkotron created for Halloween. And we can name several reasons for considering it as a brilliant text adventure. But first, the story.
It’s Halloween and we return home after a hard day’s work. We’re tired, hungry and we just want to order some pizza and rest our brains in front of the TV. However, as soon as we try to make a call to order the pizza, we find out the phone is out of order, feeling a strange sensation and a shiver down the spine, and everything starts to go awry …
So it starts a ghostly adventure which leads us to a parallel dimension, very appropriate to the season, in which we have to find and destroy a cursed book, saving our skin, and Shadow, a lovely black cat.
But what makes this text adventure different from all the others? Firstly the story itself. It is brilliant, the text is absorbing, the puzzles are logical, giving all the clues we need to advance in the game. It even uses a three-color system, in which the yellow words indicate objects we can interact with in any way, but cannot take, turquoise for objects that we can take or carry, and green for possible outputs / exits. So there is no need to search and examine dozens of useless objects and lose time unnecessarily.
Secondly, there are no sudden deaths. Either the adventure ends, or it doesn’t end, period. There is no need to do “save states” frequently, for fear of losing the game and the progress we have done. Another one of the highlights of Unhallowed is the vocabulary. With just a dozen verbs we can do everything (“get” / “take”, “examine”, “use”, “give”, “open”, “close”, “push”, “pull”), and we can also use abbreviations to move around inside the house (or both houses, if in the parallel dimension). There is no need for geographic coordinates, just have to indicate which rooms we want to go to. Also, it is possible to use compound actions, just like “use” and “with”.
Finally, the icing on the cake: for any animal lover, the adventure has a very pedagogical part. It is not possible to reach the end without taking Shadow with us, meaning the coder gives as much importance to the cat as it does to our character. An extra touch of class, in our opinion…
Unhallowed has no graphics and does not need to. The story is engaging and we can perfectly imagine each of the house’s divisions, be it in our dimension or in the parallel dimension. The puzzles are challenging and, if we explore all the sites properly, we will find the solution sooner or later.
Overall Unhallowed is a Mega Game. Whether or not you are a fan of this kind of game, do yourself a favour play Unhallowed, you will not rest until you solve the mystery and save your skin (and Shadow’s).
Unhallowed was voted for Best Game of 2018 by Planeta Sinclair’s site and featured in The Classic Adventure issue 6.