The Uncertain: Episode 1 - The Last Quiet Day
Genre: Graphic Adventure
Release Dates: 22 Sep, 2016 (EU & NA)
Following the episodic format popularized by games such as The Walking Dead or Life is Strange, The Uncertain takes on a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world where humans are extinct, but the robots created by them were able to survive on their own, as they only need electricity to survive. You play as engineering robot RT-217NP, a freelancer robot with a main purpose of crafting new tools and equipment from scrap, who finds himself in the middle of a dispute between the USS corporation which now controls all robots via firmware updates and the resistance made up of robots who refused the updates. As it often happens with episodic point and click games, it's hard to talk about the story without spoiling its surprises, but in the 2-3 hours it takes to finish the first episode you will see quite a few surprises and unexpected turns.
The story is obviously the main focus here, but so far only the first episode has been released, without any knowledge of when the second one is coming out or how many episodes there will be in total, and since this episode ends on quite a cliffhanger it might be a while before we see how it all unfolds in episode 2. Throughout your journey you will encounter other robots that you can interact with and while the side-writing isn't exceptional the game does a great job making a robot controlled world come to life via authentic voices, logical AI thinking and even some jokes between the lines.
If you are familiar with this genre of games, The Uncertain pretty much plays like any other point and click adventure, but combined with dialogue, a few puzzles and even a limited driving sequence, it never feels like the game dwells on a mechanic too much as it always moves on to the next thing, but it feels like this mostly because the game is short, so we'll see if the developers can keep the momentum in the second episode. There's always something new to do, from disabling a jamming device to restoring power or convincing another robot that you're innocent in an intense situation, so from a gameplay variety perspective there's more to do than your traditional graphical adventure episode.
There are also a bunch of items that you can acquire over the course of the game, some of which are mandatory, while others are optional and figuring out the right use for them is an essential part of the puzzle, but there are other instances when the game will tell you where an item should be used. Some puzzles on the other hand are not that obvious at first, but once you do figure it out the reward of feeling like a detective will make it worth in the end. However, even if you can't figure it out the game will often give you hints if you're stuck in the same area for too long, in a way that doesn't feel like an easy ticket out, but more like a valuable piece of information.
Built using the Unity engine, the game obviously can't be compared to the triple A titles, but played on maximum settings it looks great and it's probably one of the best looking graphic point and click adventure games ever. There are a few minor visual glitches that you might encounter from time to time, but nothing game breaking, and since the characters are robots lip sync is not an issue here. The visual effects could use some improvements in certain areas, but for the environments present in episode 1, the beauty of the landscape is enough to keep you focused.
The soundtrack might not be the most memorable thing ever, but it gets the job done putting you in the atmosphere of the game and combined with some great sound effects, the game makes the whole robot universe feel legit. The voice acting is spot-on for robot characters and there are lots of lines of dialogue that can only be triggered if you do a certain thing, get an item or respond differently to a question; play the game a second time and you might have an entire conversation with a character feel different than the previous one, even if the outcome will be the same.
Right now, for the 14,99€ price tag you only get the first episode, which can be completed in less than 3 hours, and there is no exact date for when episode 2 will come out or even if it will be included in this purchase, since the title of the game only refers to the first episode, so you might want to wait for a sale before picking this one up.
The Uncertain's strongest selling point is its story, which is hard to recommend after seeing only the first episode, but it is a great pilot for a series with a lot of potential, but right now the future of this game is... uncertain.