A Place for the Unwilling (2019) is a narrative adventure set in the final 21 days of a dying city. You investigate the city and its inhabitants to piece together what has happened. However, the clock is always ticking and the city carries on, with or without you. This means you soon run out of time and start over with your gleaned knowledge to affect the city in different ways and create a different ending.
This is a story-driven game in the purest sense. There are no puzzles to get stuck on, no combat or reaction-based elements. As you explore the city and talk to people, you discover information and find notes pointing you in various directions. You must slowly learn your way around using landmarks and signposts.
The people you meet are endearing. From upper-middle-class shopkeeper Florence who pretends to be French to street urchin paperboy Myles, they each have their own story and part to play in the descent of the metropolis. Discovering how each of them interacts with each other is a complex web that requires attention and note-taking.
All the while the clock is ticking. Certain events can only be discovered at specific times of the day or on particular days of your time in the city. Not only that but the interactions and choices you make have deep and far-reaching consequences. While other games offer a more streamlined way of interacting or higher production values, A Place for the Unwilling commits to its concept and delivers a unique sense of impact and control of a living breathing city.
The scope is huge with over 100 narrative events based on everyday decisions and big shape a unique story. Combine this with the wide cast of characters and in-depth narrative and you have a game unlike many others. Along the way, it deals with themes of inequality, isolation and even cosmic horror.
Our examiner, Andy Robertson
, first checked A Place for the Unwilling 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson
and updated 6 weeks ago.