Ports of 2019 interactive radio drama available with bonus case for PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Think you could solve crimes with your eyes closed? That’s more or less what you’ll have to do to succeed in NEXT Studios’ Unheard: Voices of Crime, a unique nonlinear audio-driven mystery that’s just been ported to consoles following its earlier PC release.
Rather than being an active participant in the crimes you’re tasked to solve, here you’re merely an observer after the fact, a futuristic “Acoustic Detective” with a special device that allows you to listen in on conversations from the past. Using only your ears and your wits, you must visit a series of seemingly unrelated old crime scenes and “identify characters, understand their relationships, uncover motivations,” piece together timelines on your own and try to deduce the culprits. But before you leap to conclusions, you’ll also need to determine whether you can actually believe everything you hear.
While there is a visual component to Unheard, it’s largely limited to a blueprint-like layout of the current location, along with a list of any names you’ve identified and questions you must answer. As a “tribute to the immersive radio dramas of a bygone day,” most of the gameplay is presented exclusively through audio. Complicating matters is that the nonlinear stories have multiple branches that play out in simulated real time, so “while you are investigating in one room, something of importance may be happening in the next.” Fortunately you have the power to “control time and go back and forth to experiences different events and uncover the truth.” It’s entirely up to you to decide how to approach each case, so that no two playthroughs need ever be alike.
Originally released on Steam for Windows and Mac in March 2019, Unheard: Voices of Crime has now been ported to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, complete with the full original game plus an additional bonus case called “The Lethal Script” that “will have the detectives investigating a movie industry mystery on The Peak Hotel.”