The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Review Switch – No Pen is Mightier than no Sword
The second instalment in The Unwritten Tales series released in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox one have all been recipients of the title and even the Wii U received a port in 2016. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 has received a wide range of scores from 50 to 90 but I think a lot of that is to do with the genre.
Point-and-click isn’t for everybody but I sure like it.
The opening shot reveals a tome of stories, pages wildly flipping from right to left as invisible hands hurriedly attempt to find where the reader finished their last foray into the magical world contained within the covers.
The greatest mystery of the unwritten tales is how written they are!
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 Review Switch
Beyond the introduction, we are introduced to Nate Bonnett, chaotic adventurer extraordinaire. He’s a funny, frantic, charismatic and in the midst of falling to his imminent death. Taking control of the game for the first time while riding a segment of ship mast, Dr Strangelove style, quickly grabbed my attention and made me eager to see how our protagonist would find his way to safety.
In the small window of time I was granted with Bonnet, Unwritten Tales 2 was fast in showing the quality of worldbuilding, character and dialogue I could expect from the point-and-click series. There was plenty of slapstick including some bruised testicles and I can really appreciate that.
Man gets hit in the groin hasn’t lost its punch.
I’m unfamiliar with the original game and didn’t realise it would be so comedic. Our second character, Ivo, is introduced as an elven princess-in-a-tower type who’s Mother is very displeased with how fat she’s becoming. The princess is arranged to be wed to a proper prince and her mother will be damned if some excessive snacking will be the end of her plans to see her daughter married.
Ivo is tired of her sheltered life and nights spent staring at the stars through her telescope. She hungers for freedom, adventure and a chance to make stories of her own. Her mother must think she’s too fat to run away, but run away she does!
As I said, point-and-click games aren’t for everyone. The action is scripted and the player input only goes as far as some light walking while searching for clues and items to resolve puzzles in the near and distant future. Collecting sunflower seeds from a garden to distract birds or digging through a gardening shed for a bucket to transport water to a thirsty guard dog are the sorts of problems the genre provides the player.
The strength of this genre is defined by storytelling.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 has plenty of exploration and discovery. Investigating a small stream will prompt Ivo to describe the mighty river of the elven kingdoms and observing some red flowers will reveal that the flowers were named by elven royalty thousands of years ago.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is really an interactive book aimed at fans of high fantasy and adventure novels. I love these kinds of books so learning of the little details of Elfburrow and the relationships between the members of the monarchy has been a nice way to unwind after hours of competitive shooters.
Controlling your character is easy. Tilting of the left stick will get you around the levels with no worries. It’s simple to find or select the interactive elements of an area. Where prompts are dense in proximity the right analog stick lets the player swap between the available options and if you can’t find anything worth clicking on, tapping X will reveal all the available points of action.
I mostly appreciated the studios choice to have colour specific text for the characters. Using a black outline on text and positioning the text near the speaker makes it easy to distinguish the origin of the dialogue. However, using magenta is a rude option. That’s not great reading for the main character with buckets of text to work through.
Also, DON’T REVEAL THE ENTIRETY OF THE TEXT AS A CHARACTER BEGINS SPEAKING.
The voice acting in this game is very good. Not Ron Pearlman or Andy Serkis good but its definitely worth listening to. I don’t want to listen to anybody repeat something I read 3 seconds ago even one time. I certainly don’t intend to listen to someone talk on a delay to my reading for the duration of a thirty-hour game.
Read Only Memories: 2064 is another point and click I’ve been reviewing and the text is timed to reveal as the characters speak. This is necessary for a high-quality story-driven title if there is going to be a lot of text-based interaction.
If someone knows a better way to do it, I’m very interested. However, as I see it, leave these big walls of text and slow, delayed speech in the past.
It’s just no good.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 was reviewed on Switch using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Game title: The Book of Unwritten Tales 2
High-fantasy Hijinks - 8/10
Crushed nuts - 8/10
Skippable Text Walls - 4/10
Highly Interactive Environments - 7/10