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Keep Clicking to Help This Private Dick Dig Up Dirt

'Unbeknownst' is an endless clicker set in a noir detective story, and it’s kind of brilliant.

Danielle Riendeau

Unbeknownst, by ShadeJackrabbit, is a sort of mash-up of the endless clicker genre (think Cow Clicker or Cookie Clicker) and a stylish, pulpy noir detective story. You play as a PI who gets a case—a dog has been pup-napped!—and to solve the crime, you need to click on your notepad. A lot.

Clicking gets you leads, and leads sometimes bring you to new scenes, furthering the narrative as it descends into a wonderfully unhinged horror story. The game's description is poetic in its simplicity:

"Unbeknownst is a 1-bit (black and white, monochrome, noir) game set in the recent past, about investigating endless leads and unrelated clues that spiral down an eldritch rabbit hole."

And what a rabbit hole it is, my friends.

All Unbeknownst screens captured by the author

There's something wonderful about the way Unbeknownst comments on gameplay mechanics that obscure the hell out of their real-world analogue. "Detective work" is often represented in games as finding clues in a 3D or 2D space, or ordering objects or photographs like a puzzle. They appear to have some real-world connection to the real thing, but honestly, you might as well be clicking on a notepad hundreds of times, as leads and "clues" stack up on your quest tracker.

Wonderful and at least a little bit hilarious. Unbeknownst has a sly sense of humor that hooked me right away with its dopey dog-nap storyline and goes to wonderful places by the end. It's surely worth all of the clicks.

You can download the game or play in-browser for free on its itch.io page.