Hey gamers, let’s talk about Unholy, an action-adventure game developed by Duality Games and published by HOOK. The game’s Steam page is labeled under the indie action genre, promising a unique experience for players. Set in a world of horror and mystery, Unholy challenges players with a mix of action-packed gameplay and puzzle-solving elements. As always, thank you to the developers for the free game! Now sacrifice three memories with me so we can take a journey into the Eternal City!

A Desperate Mother’s Journey into Darkness

In Unholy, players assume the role of Dorothea, a young mother searching to find a cure for her son’s nightmares. In her desperation, she becomes entangled with a religious cult, seeking their assistance when conventional medical treatments fail. Tragically, the cult’s leader intends to use her son as a ritual sacrifice to achieve immortality. During the sacred ritual, something goes awry, causing both her son and the cult members to vanish in a blaze of fire. Emerging from the flames, an older woman appears as Dorothea’s spirit guide, guiding her into the Eternal City—an otherworldly plane beyond the bounds of reality.


Unholy Has A Narrative Disconnection

From a storytelling perspective, Unholy’s narrative-driven experience felt disjointed right from the start. It lacked crucial explanations about Dorothea’s identity, her reason for being involved with the religious sect, and failed to establish a compelling reason for players to empathize with her or her son. The lack of context about the events preceding the game left me feeling disconnected from the character emotionally. Additionally, the voice acting further hindered the immersive experience, which will be elaborated on in more detail later.

Enthralling World-Building

Conversely, the world-building in my adventure of Unholy was phenomenal. Discovering notes and reading diary pages provided a rich lore that delved into the history of the disfigured Eternal City. The Spring of Eternity’s peculiar societal structure, where each member dons a specific mask determining their role, was captivating. The masks also had the intriguing effect of suppressing certain emotions, such as fear. While the main story plot might not have been as captivating, I found immense enjoyment in exploring and understanding the intricacies of this well-crafted world.

unholy dorothea's mask

Sinister Atmosphere Enhanced by Stellar Graphics

The stellar graphics were paramount in creating the dark and eerie atmosphere that permeates Unholy. The highly effective art style masterfully conveyed the haunting ambiance, drawing me deeper into the game’s unsettling world. The meticulous attention to detail in the atmospheric lighting, along with the intricate designs of masks and paintings, further intensified the sinister theme. Each visual element worked in harmony which positively impacted my impression of Unholy.

unholy painting of dorothea

Voice Acting Inconsistencies Impact Unholy’s Immersion

While Unholy shines in its visual presentation, it faces challenges in maintaining immersion due to some shortcomings in voice acting performances. The remarkable portrayal by the elder lady’s voice actress succeeded in keeping me engaged; however, other characters in the game fell short. The inconsistency and poor delivery of lines disrupted my immersion multiple times throughout my playthrough. It appears that many of the voices are not from native English speakers, which may explain the occasional choppiness to some extent. Nevertheless, for a game targeting a broader English-speaking audience, professional voice acting is undoubtedly essential.

It’s unfortunate that the credits only list the actors’ names without specifying the characters they played, as I would have liked to commend the exceptional performance of the elder lady’s voice actress directly.

Diverse Gameplay Elements with a Hint of Awkwardness

The gameplay in Unholy encompasses various elements and genres. Players engage in environmental interactions, solve puzzles, and take refuge in lockers. While the game includes eerie corridors and moments of creepiness, it never fully commits to jump scares. Instead, it blends action and stealth mechanics, which can feel somewhat awkward due to the limitations of the slingshot used as a primary weapon.

A Unique Weapon: The Ethereal Slingshot

In place of a traditional camera or sidearm, Dorothea carries a potent ethereal slingshot capable of firing crystallized emotions. These emotions can be discovered within deceased bodies or objects such as flood lights or generators. The slingshot primarily serves as a tool for defeating enemies by setting off nearby explosives. Additionally, it proves quite useful in the later stages of the game for distracting foes. Personally, I found the slingshot to be a satisfying weapon of choice compared to other conventional weapons in games.

Unholy AI Predictability

As an avid game analyst, I soon realized that sneaking in Unholy served little purpose due to the highly predictable enemy AI. Dorothea’s sprint speed surpassed that of any pursuing enemy, resulting in an easy strategy of running until finding the exit. Even when puzzles were present to unlock the exit, there was always a conveniently placed locker to hide in. Surprisingly, Unholy allows players to jump into the locker even if an enemy is hot on their heels. Once this mechanic is grasped, the element of horror or surprise dissipates, diminishing the game’s overall suspenseful experience.

Unholy’s Bag of Genres

Achieving a seamless and successful integration of multiple genres in a game can be challenging. It appears that Unholy fell short of creating a truly exceptional experience in any single genre. Although I highly appreciate the game’s variety, the absence of standout features in each aspect may prevent it from reaching its full potential.

Balanced Game Length

Unholy offers a game length of 5-8 hours, which seems appropriate for a story-driven experience. The duration allows players to fully engage with the narrative and navigate the game world without feeling rushed or excessively prolonged. However, the game’s replay value might be limited since it does not strongly encourage multiple playthroughs. While some players might consider another playthrough to find all the memories for an achievement, the lack of significant branching paths or alternative story outcomes could deter others from replaying the game multiple times.

Technical Performance and User Interface

Unholy kept a good performance on high graphics settings with my AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT, maintaining a solid 60 FPS. When using ultra settings, the FPS dropped to 42. During my playthrough, I didn’t encounter any technical bugs or game-breaking glitches, which serves as a testament to the game’s development team and their dedication to providing players with a smooth and stable gaming experience.

The user interface in Unholy seems to be well-designed, contributing positively to my overall gaming experience. By not intruding on the gameplay unnecessarily, the user interface allowed me to focus on the game world. Technical aspects are mostly overlooked by players, but the smooth experience did help the experience be more immersive when possible.

Unholy Verdict

In summary, Unholy presents a visually striking journey, enriched by captivating world-building. However, it does have some shortcomings in terms of storytelling and gameplay. While the game’s attempt to blend various genres aims to offer diversity, it falls slightly short of achieving exceptional heights. Nonetheless, those who relish atmospheric games featuring captivating visuals and intriguing lore will likely find Unholy to be an enjoyable 6-8 hour adventure.

Curious to learn more about another game with a blend of puzzle and horror elements? Read my in-depth Killer Frequency Game Review: A Late-Night Radio Show Mystery!

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