The Book of Unwritten Tales 2: Review
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 has been released today.
Its a point and click adventure game that got me so nostalgic about my early days of playing games like this on PC, that I almost forgot I was supposed to be reviewing it!
Obviously this is a sequel (the 2 in the title is a clue!), but the game thankfully doesn’t require you to have played the first, although a little recap to get an overview of the characters would have been nice for those of us who haven’t played the first which wasn’t on console.
Set in the fantasy world of Aventásia play centers around controlling four different characters, alternately or simultaneously. Elf Princess Ivo, adventurer Nate and his furry pet companion Critter and gnome mage Wilbur. The previous game centred around the foursome putting an end to a war and stopping an arch villain’s plan for world domination. This time its up to you to find out who’s responsible for Aventásia slowly transforming into a sugary fantasy world for little girls and what is their plan?
The game begins with you as Nate plummeting downwards from a great height. You assist him trying to climb up the debris falling around him, alas this isn’t going to well, but you find a magic lamp and rubbing it releases the genie inside. Conversation reveals the genies incompetency’s have lead to this situation and you have to convince the genie to try another spell so you don’t plummet to your death.
After this short first part the beginning credits roll……and then get stuck, which is how you are introduced to the mechanics to the game by guiding a little robot to fix the arising issues and carry on. You are shown how to interact with items by pressing A, B to simply look at them, open your inventory with Y, B on an inventory item enables you to look at it and your told how to combine items from within the inventory.
The first character you find yourself as is Elf Princess Ivo who is having a disagreement with her mother. In the previous game Ivo and Nate had grown fond of each other, but split up for unknown reasons. Ivo’s mother has found a more suitable mate for her daughter much to Ivo’s annoyance and her mother also thinks Ivo could do with losing a few pounds, this understandably doesn’t go down well with Ivo! She is locked in her room by her mother and you are tasked with first finding out how to get our your room. Your being guarded by a rather interfering bird who would run to your mother if she spots you escaping, but how to distract her……..
The main mechanics of the game involve looking at items in your surroundings and seeing how you can interact with them. The puzzles usually involve collecting and using objects to fix something, get past obstacles or create an odd device. When you press X on the controller all the items you can do something with are shown, you then use the right stick to highlight what one and B to look at the item or A to do something with it. I found the X to highlight surrounding items extremely useful as the characters can sometimes be a little tricky to manoeuvre, so this eliminates having to walk right up to what you want to do.
As in all true adventure puzzles sometimes you have to look at something a few times or again after doing something else to unlock a new option. For example looking at the jewellery box once might make Ivo talk about it in general, again and she might open it and rummage about, which in turn could give the option to take something out from inside the box.
The graphics in the game are stunning, varied and rich in colour and detail. The gameplay is side scrolling, with different areas linked together by pleasingly short loading screens. Even though it is side scrolling the game has such graphical depth that the areas and rooms you are in feel much larger and make you forget about any constraints.
Sounds are great too, the buzzing of the bees as you can see in the above picture, flowing of water and the change of footsteps over different terrain. The score is wonderful, although a little on the loud side so I did have to turn it down a lot to hear and appreciate the characters properly. The characters are humorous, bizarre, wacky and often come out with witty remarks and quirky come backs by excellent voice acting.
Check out the very musical release trailer below! –
I thoroughly enjoyed playing The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, with 20-25hrs gameplay it is a game you can really get into. I’m glad to see a classic point and click adventure of such quality on Xbox, which is a genre not particularly covered by consoles in general.
Click here to see the game in the Xbox Store priced at £23.99.