First of all I would like to thank you for reading my review, this has been my first game review since the N64 era and that was for a school magazine so be gentle with me :)
For those unaware of this games existence it is a Point-and-Click fantasy adventure for PC created by German developer King Art, it was originally released in 2009 but it wasn’t until 2011 that it got an English official release. A prequel was released in 2012 called “The Critter Chronicles” with its sequel due sometime in January 2015.
Without requiring a spoiler alert, you act as puppeteer for one of four characters, including Ivo the elf and Wilber the gnome, as they try to stop a war that’s been ravaging the lands of the alliance of races . The adventure with Wilber, a young and bored gnome who wants nothing more than an adventure and to become a hero, receives a magic ring and is tasked with delivering it.
Although doing nothing particularly new or original for the genre, Unwritten Tales is a funny and beautifully crafted fantastical romp through a suitably cliché storyline, this is surprisingly one of its strongest points because the game is very aware of itself, often poking jabs at itself & the genre and pays homage to other fantasy mediums. Within the first two hours of gameplay I spotted many references to Lord of the Rings, Diskworld, Indiana Jones, Star Wars and even Star Trek. Graphically the backgrounds are beautifully drawn with bright and vibrant areas with enough movement to not feel too static. The character models have their own individual charm, however animations can be often a little janky as the characters move into specific positions for dialogue sections which although small can become distracting.
Of course in this genre story writing and dialogue can be a game breaker and thankfully Unwritten Tales delivers both of these in heaps, the storyline is very strong, albeit a little on the short side. Nearly all characters are interesting, fun and enjoyable to interact with and do an amazing job of fleshing out the world around you with the amusing writing and the delivery from top notch voice actors who even manage a good variety of authentic accents. Occasionally however the dialogue can become a little disjointed due to the time between clicks which could be an issue for new players or those who are poor at logic puzzles.
The gameplay in Unwritten Tales is your standard point and click affair, click the item to find out what it is, take the item to the place to move on. Sometimes it requires combining items to get a result but all in all the logic puzzles are much the same as they have always been, not that that is necessarily a bad thing. King Art has put in a few small additions to help unfamiliar players, for example no item is useless, if you can pick it up you know you will use it, also holding the space bar will show all available “hot spots” and when all you can get from a particular hotspot has occurred it will vanish, meaning most puzzles will be solved with common sense and at worst a bit of experimentation time, some puzzles are a little more tricky and will require a bit more thinking time but none of them feel overplayed or bad. Overall I personally found the gameplay to be fresh, clever and fun if not a total change from the norm.
The entire adventure from start to end should last you about 20 hours or so, but very little of that time will be spent staring at your screen intently trying to find a small item you missed to finish a part of the story, so it will be 20 hours of compelling characters, an interesting story, enjoyable references (spotting them all is a game in itself) all to the backdrop of gorgeous scenery and a fantastic soundscape.
Who should buy this?
Fans of Point and Click adventures ie. Broken Sword & Monkey Island
Players who want to enjoy a laid back story
Fans of the Fantasy Genre
Players who enjoy using their mind to proceed
Who should avoid this?
Players who rely on combat being a part of the enjoyment.
Players who dislike large amounts of dialogue
Players that hate Logic Puzzles