There’s been something of a resurgence in the popularity of the “kids on bikes” genre as of late, due in no small part to Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things. While kids and teenagers facing down cosmic conspiracies and saving the world from their own neighborhoods is nothing new, video games influenced by fiction such as The Goonies or even the recent Paper Girls remain somewhat rare.
In Unusual Findings, a point-and-click adventure game by Epic Llama Games, we play Vinny, Nick, and Tony as they attempt to figure out why an alien has invaded their town and what they can do to stop it. Though this trio doesn’t have the bicycles common to the genre, they have an intimate awareness of their city and its neighborhoods that allows them to be the heroes of their community that no one else can be. After picking up an alien distress signal, Vinny, Nick, and Tony watch an alien kill someone and further wreak havoc across their small town. When no one believes that an alien abduction is happening, or that the mysterious corporation north of town could have something to do with it, the trio takes on the roles of community avengers themselves.
Unusual Findings is designed like the point-and-click adventures of yesteryear and feels at home with the genre’s resurgence in games such as NORCO or Kentucky Route Zero. Players unfamiliar with a point-and-click might find some frustration in the game’s progression and puzzles, but there is a genuine cleverness to how Unusla Findings presents itself. On the Nintendo Switch version of the game, players can press up on the d-pad to see all objects in the immediate area that can be interacted with, and there are also multiple ways to solve puzzles and progress.
With multiple endings and lines of dialogue that can change based on player action, Unusual Findings is worth replaying more than once to see how everything shakes out. It also feels right at home on the Nintendo Switch, the perfect evening comfort game where you can solve a few puzzles at a time while laughing along with the antics of the three teenage heroes and their city that’s baked in nods and winks to the popular media of the 1980s.
Thansk to its gorgeous pixelated art style, dynamic soundtrack, and clever writing, Unusual Findings deserves to be more than a game that slips beneath the radar of anyone but die-hard point-and-click fans. It’s a serviceable entry in the genre and a fun escape to an imaginative era that’s charming, hilarious, and truly spooky.