The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is set to make its debut on the Nintendo Switch on February 5th, 2019, and launches at a hefty $29.99. I say hefty because it is four years old, and lacks any replay value. So, if you’ve played it before, I would think hard as you read this review before double dipping. The game was developed by King Art Games and published by THQ Nordic.
It is a point and click adventure game set in a fantasy world meant to parody the likes of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. I am woefully unfamiliar with how the game ran on its other platforms. This is my first time exploring this game, but I am quite fond of point and click games.
Just a warning for non German speakers, the lines of dialogue do not match up with the characters mouths in the slightest. Not even close. It was the first thing I noticed about the game, and it is fairly distracting, although understandable, as the game required crowdfunding in order to be translated.
The Unwritten Tale
The game follows four different protagonists. They are reunited after the events of the first game in order to find what is turning beasts into puppies, and castles into measly dollhouses. That’s basically it. These people returned to their way of life, saw beasts turning into puppies, and castles into dollhouses, and decided to see what’s up. As mentioned before, the game a is a parody meant to contrast the typical serious and often melodramatic stories of the fantasy genre. The comedy in the series is very high. While not all of the dialogue lands, the game does certainly create many humorous situations.
The story is also rather predictable, even for someone unfamiliar with the series. It stretches far longer than needed as well. I love games with lots of content, but this game could benefit from being around ten hours shorter. The story just isn’t too great. A lot of unneeded bloat caused by uninteresting plot points.
The characters were known for being deep, compelling people throughout the first game, who seemed to grow as the player progressed. At least that’s what gave the series such praise in the first game. That is not the case here. The characters aren’t very unique, and stumble into many cliche troupes. Fans of the series will enjoy them, but otherwise you may find yourself annoyed more than anything else.
The Unwritten Characters
Wilbur is a lowly novice mage of the gnome race who is often the very heart and soul of the group. He manages to keep them going despite often being topped by those larger than him.
Nate is a whiny narcissist, who explores and spends his time as a treasure hunter. He’s a normal human, so he lacks many of the traits that give his companions their leverage, and replaces it all with being rather annoying.
There’s also Ivo. The Elf princess who longs to escape from her suffocating life, and instead see the world freely. She has the most interesting development in the game, and is the most genuine character.
Lastly, Critter is a hairy alien like creature. It serves as Nate’s sidekick and realistically his only friend. Critter is a lot better than Nate however.
The game takes four completely different characters, from race, personality, and abilities, and slaps them all together. This is used to create many different types of situations, from humorous to divisive scenes. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. You’re going to be with these characters for a long time. The story will take you around twenty hours of pointing and clicking. And they’re not the most likable bunch around.
The Book of Point and Clicking
The game play is rather uninspired. Its basic point and clicking. You can combine items in certain ways for some minor puzzling action. But it is very tedious. It gives you no direction, so you have to literally click on every item multiple times in every area in order to begin piecing what you should do together. The first example of this in the game is the best.
As Ivo, you have to figure out that you need to pick the sunflower plant for seeds, talk to your bird a few times. Put the seeds in the bowl on the table so the bird will eat them. You need to grab the mirror the bird likes looking into and set it in front of your music box so that the bird moves and looks at the mirror on top of the box. Then you have to know to open the box so that the bird sits inside and the music puts it to sleep. Because obviously every sane person would figure out that this is the logical thing to do right?
How This Feels
This sucks. It just is not fun. It is overly tedious, meant to give the game some level of challenge instead of just being an interactive movie. But it does not work. At all. If the dialogue when Ivo gives her thoughts on items hinted at a direction that you should move in, then that would be great! But, it doesn’t. It just sucks.
Also the controls need work. For game that’s four years old, that’s fairly sad. You’ll walk across a room and then half way through your controls invert so your randomly turn around. There is never an indication of when this will happen, so you’re left struggling to get the game to do what you want it to do the entire time.
On that same note, the point and clicking needs work. Items are so close together usually, yet the game gives you no way to easily switch your cursor between items. You have to fight with randomly inverting controls to find the right spot and angle to view what you intend to. This will also result in you viewing items even more times on accident than the already tedious amount you have to.
This game is well received on other platforms from what I have seen, so maybe the Switch version is lacking. Maybe I just don’t get this game. But there are far better, and far cheaper point and click games out there. All of which I would suggest over this.
The Book of Artwork
The art in this game is the best part. It isn’t anything super special. The cartoony appearance of the game gives it a really bright and often beautiful style. Especially with stills of scenery. The only issue was mentioned earlier. That being the mouths not matching up in the slightest. It makes sense, as the game is not originally recorded in English, but it does distract from the rest of the art.
The character designs are fitting. It is full of the various races cultures which gives the game some diversity. Some are weird. Critter is the best example. He’s just a furry blob basically. Ivo again is the standout. As the Elf she was given the advantage. While the game attempts to mock fantasy tropes, it also falls victim to them. The Elfs are a rich and sophisticated race, just like every Elf in every type of fantasy.
The Book of Songs
The music is also nice. Whatever the setting at the time is, the music matches it. The music manages to elevate and otherwise bleak game, adding much needed emotion and tension into the scenes the game presents. While the soundtrack is obviously not on the level of the Halo franchise, it does capture the feelings intended. It meets the bar that the indie game genre has set. It sits there comfortably, seeking to neither surpass or fall below it.
The Written Verdict
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is not a very good game. The story and characters are rather uninspired, and it fails to properly parody the fantasy genre, by falling victim to just as many of its tropes. The dialogue is average at best, and leaves a lot of humorous lines hanging to no applause. The game play kills any possible enjoyment one would get from the story. And for a $29.99 price tag, I would suggest avoiding this title. The same publishing team also ported Sphinx to the Switch recently, and that would be a better use of your money.
And as always, you can find more reviews at Open Critic.
- THE GOOD
- THE BAD
- Game Play
- Replay Value
- It’s tedious
- Too expensive
- Not fun
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a mess. A mess that might hold over fans of the series, but all others should absolutely avoid this title. Unless you see it for an extreme discount.