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No one is dying in my Unsighted playthrough, and that’s fine by me

I’ve stopped the ticking clock

Standing in a store in Unsighted Image: Studio Pixel Punk/Humble Games via Polygon
Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

You may have heard about Unsighted, a Zelda-inspired adventure game with a very particular hook: Each NPC you meet has a ticking clock above their heads, and if enough in-game time passes, they’ll go “unsighted” and vanish from the world. That weapon vendor who sold you your first sword? Gone. That friendly giant whale who loves to fish? Outta here. Even the helpful fairy that follows you around and gives you tips can go unsighted if enough time passes. You can spend a limited resource, Meteor Dust, to give certain characters more time, but that only delays the inevitable, while also dooming others to a grim fate.

When I first heard the pitch for Unsighted, I marveled at the creativity of it. I also knew that the anxiety of such a mechanic would tear me to shreds. How could I possibly choose who lives and who dies if I’ve just met them? No thank you.

And yet, here I am, about eight hours into my Unsighted adventure, having a lovely time. And it’s all thanks to Explorer Mode, which removes the time mechanic entirely from the game. Time will still pass, and you’ll still see time that various NPCs have left, but their timers will never tick down, and they’ll never become unsighted. They’re here forever.

I’ve no doubt that if I were playing Unsighted on the default setting, it would be a unique gaming experience, one that forces me to bond more deeply with the characters in this world than I ever have with the random NPCs in a Zelda game. I’d be making brutal decisions about who lives and who dies, and the ones I save will forever stick in my memory as lifelong compatriots. The others? Well, I’d rather not think about them.

A granny in Unsighted Image: Studio Pixel Punk/Humble Games via Polygon

So yes, I’ve cheated myself out of this unique gaming experience that would have made me at least somewhat miserable. In Explorer Mode, I can spend my Meteor Dust to max out the relationships that mean the most to me, or that offer the best rewards, without having to worry about the poor robot granny slowly losing her mind in the other room. I can experience an incredibly polished, challenging, and insightful adventure that I otherwise would have bounced off of.

So if you’re stressed out about the prospect of Unsighted, even though it looks like precisely your jam, follow my route and adjust the game so that it’s right for you. The developers included Explorer Mode for you, me, and everyone else with a delicate soul, so we may as well take them up on it.

The next level of puzzles.

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