It’s rare to get the chance to play a new point-and-click title these days. Which is why it’s fantastic to see The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 being released on the Nintendo Wii U.
There is no doubt that developing a quality point-and-click title is a risky gamble. Most people who grew up playing these titles have moved on to other popular genres. Although the demand for the genre must have still been high considering that this title was only made a reality due to being successfully crowdfunded on popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter.
Which is why it’s a pleasant surprise to see that the title feels like a finished product. Developing a new video-game is already difficult enough without the constraints set by relying on funds from the public. However, in this case it’s clear that King Art Games did a stellar job of ensuring that it had a solid plan and getting Nordic Games to publish the title probably helped as well.
Although this is a sequel it is still possible to play it without having to play the original that has only been released on the PC so far. The writing makes it so that characters are introduced to players in a way that both newcomers and fans of the original know what is going on. It’s actually impressive considering that it never feels like characters are repeating themselves, since it is all cleverly inserted in the dialogue in a way that makes it important for the development of the current plot lines.
The title is played by controlling different characters as they go off on their own adventures and eventually bump into each other. It’s a rather unique cast with the likes of an Elf princess called Ivo and even a furry alien creature called Critte” becoming playable at different points of the story. Being able to play as different characters gives the title an advantage in that it never starts to feel like it’s getting repetitive.
Instead, it’s actually really enjoyable to get to see a different corner of the world when being given control of each character. Each of the areas that can be explored is quite large as well with plenty of items/objects to interact with. It’s good that the title has a tendency to introduce new objectives whenever the character being controlled is interacting with other characters, since it provides another reason to listen to the dialogue and/or read the subtitles.
Whilst most of the puzzles that characters must complete to progress consist of finding and making use of items/objects, it doesn’t make it any less pleasant. This is mainly due to the dialogue and the various jokes (usually video-games related) made by characters. There are even a few instances where characters make jokes about game mechanics associated with titles such as this one. Not that the dialogue is flawless as there is the odd moment here and there where it feels like a joke got lost in translation.
The story does a good job of keeping players interested. It deals with some loose ends from the first title whilst also including a new threat that the characters eventually confront as a group. This is done in such a manner that keeps the title from ever becoming too serious. The various over the top plot twists that pop up when they are least expected probably help as well. It just makes it more clear that the development team actually enjoyed being given the opportunity to develop this sequel.
Given the necessity to interact with items/objects, the ability to do so by highlighting a particular nearby item/object with the right analog stick is very handy. It means not having to constantly adjust the character’s current position so that the correct item/object is highlighted. Pressing the “x” button will also bring up every item/object that the characters can interact with on the screen. The item management system is easy to use when combining items or using them on items/objects in the current location.
In terms of art style, the title does a superb job of showcasing all the different locations set within the magical land of Aventasia. Even the character models look superb and more so during close-ups, such as in the brief tutorial at the beginning where players control the sarcastic main male character, Nate. The attention to detail is never short of impressive and it really makes a difference when playing the title. These colourful environments look even better when displayed on the GamePad and it’s possible to play the title only making use of Nintendo’s unique controller. It helps that the mellow soundtrack does a good job of making the player feel like a part of this fantasy world.
No significant performance issues were found when playing this version of the title and it only suffered some very minor lag on instances where it was saving progress – most likely an issue to do with how save files are created on the hardware. Still, for someone who has played the Xbox One version of the title to full completion, this version is just as good quality wise.
For a point-and-click adventure, the title does a remarkable job of lasting long enough to feel like a fulfilling quest without overstaying its welcome. The addition of some secret bonuses, such as unique costumes for characters, makes it appealing to play through the story again to try and find everything.
Even though the title doesn’t particularly add anything new to the genre, except for a healthy dose of humour, it still manages to find ways of amusing players. The cast of characters is also likeable and it makes it that much more interesting to care about their various ordeals. It’s almost a luxury to have the opportunity to play a new traditional point-and-click adventure these days – let alone one of such high quality as The Book of Unwritten Tales 2.