Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy is a procedurally generated RPG with a cartoony art style that’s maybe a bit Breath of the Wild-ish, though the game is viewed from a fixed-camera view (similar to, say, Diablo III).

The game’s general overworld operates a bit like a board game, with a character icon traveling between points of interest — essentially nodes connected by dotted lines. You can be interrupted as you’re travelling from one node to another, in which case you’ll have to fight or try to escape combat.

Once you arrive at a node, however, you can explore that area, which is where the game’s fixed-camera viewpoint comes into play. Some of these nodes contain hub cities, while others contain procedurally generated dungeons filled with puzzles, traps, and enemies.

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy

It’s a really neat little game, and even though it’s in Early Access (available exclusively on the Epic Games Store right now), it feels remarkably polished.

I’ve been playing Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy for a few hours now, and I had to stop to just marvel at how freaking good the sound design in this game is. This is some top-level audio. Like — and believe me, I don’t take this comparison lightly — this is almost Supergiant level.

And I’m not just talking about the score, though that is certainly incredibly well-composed. I mean that everything in this game sounds remarkably good. Characters speak their own nonsense language, and their voices are all strange and fun to listen to. When I encounter a new character, I’m always curious to see what this scruffy little fellow might sound like. The natural parts of the world are filled with the melodious chirping of crickets and birds. Whipping out your magic staff is accompanied by an almost ominous percussive sound.

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy

But what really strikes me is the menu audio. Yes, that might seem like a weird thing to hyper-focus on, but these menus are so bewitchingly satisfying to use. When you close a menu, there’s a soft shaker noise. When you open up your radial menu, there’s what sounds like a page turning followed by a bubble-popping sound — and if you open up this menu several times consecutively, you’ll notice that the pitch of that bubble sound changes each time. When you move through your inventory slots, there’s a sound like two gemstones clacking together.

When I first started playing The Wayfarer’s Legacy, I just wanted to play around in menus, because it’s all so satisfying to listen to. It reminds me of my first iPod. When I first got an iPod, I was enthralled with how intuitive its menus felt compared to every other handheld gadget I’d used before it (keep in mind that the mainstream adoption of handheld touchscreen technology was still a ways out at that point in time). The menus in The Wayfarer’s Legacy have a level of texture to them that makes them perpetually compelling to use.

The thing about this type of sound design, however, is that it’s kind of invisible if it’s done well. When a menu sounds really good, players tend to just think this is what a menu sounds like without stopping to think that someone actually had to sit down and figure out the appropriate audio cue for every single one of these actions. On top of that, these audio engineers then had to create and implement those effects and make sure each one sounds exactly as it should. So The Wayfarer’s Legacy might not get the attention it deserves for this incredibly well-implemented aspect of the game.

But I notice it, and I appreciate it. I would even go so far as to say that this is one of the best-sounding games to come out this year.

Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer's Legacy

I’ve only begun my journey with Unexplored 2: The Wayfarer’s Legacy, but I can already tell I’m going to want to invest a lot of time into it. The general gameplay loop is compelling enough as it is, but when you throw in the gorgeously designed world and the enchanting audio? Well, let’s just say that this is something I could really spend a lot of time clickity-clacking around in.

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