I really liked UaKM as a child, and was a bit apprehensive about replaying it. However, I’m glad to say it survived the test of time.
The graphics are dated but functional. Most environments look bad up-close, but the video sequence and the pre-rendered screens still look okay. Voice acting is very good, and the plot is as captivating as ever.
The most dated aspect are the roaming controls. Instead of using WASD-style naviation, the keyboard lets you move your viewpoint up and down, and tilt your head up and down. Everything else is done with the mouse, so to move forward you have to move your mouse forward, and to turn you have to move your mouse left or right. This is usually quite inconvenient - even with the walk speed controls available in-game, I found it difficult not to spin all over the place when attempting to comb a room for clues.
There are some red flags, but almost none of them really hurt my enjoyment. There’s one trial and error puzzle (but when you fail the game basically undoes it), you can die (but not often and you typically see it coming) there’s a stealth sequence (but it’s quite easy) and I think you can even reach a dead end of sorts (but I’m not sure about it, and you’ll discover it pretty quickly).
The only gameplay issue that I found annoying are the many pixel hunts. The game utilizes the capability to roam freely and hides objects in every difficult-to-look-in angle. After a couple of hours of playing, my MO became to crawl all over every new room, then raise the viewpoint as high as it goes while looking down, then circle every object. It’s a bit of an immersion-breaker, and the hint system doesn’t really help as often the hint just tells you which object you’re looking for, but not where it is (neither room, nor place within a room).
Beyond the pixel hunts, the game suffers from a slight pacing issue - some days in Tex’ week are quite short, much shorter than the first day. That was a bit disappointing, as the grand finale felt somewhat rushed - I was sure I had more game ahead of me.
As for the actual gameplay, there are some (logical) inventory puzzles here and there, but the majority of brainpower in this game is required to piece together the mystery - choosing who to talk to and about what. That makes for a very detective-y experience, and since you usually can’t go wrong, it also provides for a lot of amusement. Overall the game is fairly easy - objects are used once and often disappear when not needed, and most inventory uses are fairly straightforward.
To summarize, UaKM is an enjoyable detective experience that provides a light challenge and some pixel hunting frustration. Not something you can’t afford to miss, but certainly recommended.
Time Played: 10-20 hours