The Book Of Unwritten Tales Review

By on December 5, 2011

A refreshing throwback to the classic point-and-click adventure genre.

Good: Well-written storyline with a great deal of dialogue and good humour; Interesting characters and NPCs; Easily solvable puzzles; Vibrant and colourful graphics; Great voice-acting.
Bad: Some puzzles are ridiculously simple and feel unnecessary; Lots of back-and-forth movement required between certain points; Animations can sometimes be awkward and stiff.
Price: AED
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

Actual gameplay comes down to typical adventure game fare; you have to explore and interact with your environment, as well as get chatty with the NPCs, in order to acquire items that allow further progression. As far as TBoUT is concerned, there are some highs and lows in this department. Probably the best part about the game’s puzzles, as briefly mentioned earlier, is that they are accessible to everyone, and can all be solved with just a little thought and common sense; you don’t need to be a champion strategist to get by. On the flipside, some of the puzzles are just too easy with some painfully obvious solutions, and might feel like they were just slotted in there to pad things out. This isn’t necessarily a massive disappointment, but it can be annoying for those who enjoy a decent challenge.

Along similar lines, you’ll find situations involving a bunch of backtracking, as well as parts where you can’t progress because you simply haven’t spoken to the right person yet. These issues are commonly seen in adventure games from time to time, but that doesn’t make it any less exasperating. Lastly, you’ll find that items that can be picked up or used do not stand out visually from the rest of the environment in any way – something that would’ve been a major hurdle, if it was not for the handy “peek” function; holding down the Spacebar at any time overlays icons over all objects of interest in the scene, and trust me, you’re going to want to use that feature from time to time.

Given that the game has been completely translated into English, the written and spoken dialogue deserves some special mention. The voice-overs are well done (they suitably convey character emotions), and the dialogues themselves are well-written, with several humorous references to modern pop culture and the adventure genre itself. Subtitles are a little off in terms of grammar in a handful of places, but on the whole, the efforts put into localization are definitely commendable.

For a game that warrants your attention for a good 15 hours or so, it’d be a real downer if you had to put up with sub-par visuals, and since the original German version came out two years ago, you might be tempted to think that you’re in for a bland visual experience. Not exactly true. KING Art has produced some strikingly good looking environments, full of rich, vibrant colours, good texture work, and decent lighting. Character models aren’t exactly the best, and exhibit some weird animations/clipping issues at times, but are rather adequate on the whole. You’ll also find some great background scores and fitting sound effects to go hand-in-hand with the aforementioned voice acting, so overall, you’re in for quite a treat.

So, there you have it…another example of how indie titles can very much hold their own against the big players in the industry in today’s gaming world, if not triumph over them. The Book of Unwritten Tales brings together all the staple elements in the adventure genre, and throws in its own brand of humour, to ultimately provide a fun experience that packs a good punch in terms of gameplay, story-telling, and presentation. If deep exploration, mythical creatures, and magical artefacts are your cup of tea, you should definitely be giving this game a go; you won’t be disappointed.

The Book of Unwritten Tales is available as a digital download from developer KING Art Games’ website, for a price of US$ 29.99. A free demo version of the game can also be downloaded.

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Loves video games lots, but loves video game development even more. Has a Bachelor's degree in the field, yet the technical complexity behind those billions of interactive pixels boggles his mind. His brain will either conjure up the next best game or turn into gravy in 5 years time.

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