I've had a lot of Swedish related influences and involvements this year and now it seems that this Nordic vibe has crept in to my gaming, with The Book of Unwritten Tales and I am pleased to admit, I enjoyed this somewhat older point and click adventure game quite a lot.
Game play is standard for P’n’C, you click on where you want the character you control to move to and there are many objects to interact with, either to make use of on your quest or to observe. You take turns playing as an elf and a dwarf. What’s that? No, this isn't an RPG, but it utilizes tropes and humorous traits from RPG genres, purely within its storytelling. This leads me to first discuss the characters themselves. Voice acting is charming and the different accents are something I really appreciate and find refreshing. No offence America or even England, but I think we need more Welsh dwarves in games. Broaden that RPG based spectrum. We've had Welsh elves in Dragon Age, though did anyone ever wonder why every other elf was Irish, except Merril. Anyway, digressing.
You encounter a strange gremlin, who beseeches upon you a ring that must not fall into the hands of evil doers. It sounds familiar doesn't it, but this isn't a Lord of the Rings rip off, the only similarity is it’s a ring. I mean it’s handier to carry around.
The humor in this game is highlighted not just by the script but by spoofs, fourth wall breakage and an apt air of sarcasm and somewhat innocent dim-wittedness. Most characters you meet will be mad in their own unique way. Along the way you’ll come across a plethora of delightfully quirky characters who all mostly, either by choice or unwittingly aid you on your mission.
Animation is simple, colourful and detailed in it’s vibrancy. Character reactions, especially when they experience shock can be absurdly amusing. Despite this not being a major graphically super charged game, now and again, facial responses to certain scenarios show of an apt tweak and contribute to the funnies.
Puzzles are fun and not too exhaustive or pretentious, which can be a fine line in point and click games. Granted some more veteran players may assume that the puzzles are too easy at certain points, but what I will say is that this game does a great throwback to previous moments and every object has a role, that isn’t just flippant. Some puzzles are homages with influences clearly taken from the likes Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark.
There was a major bug (I refer to it as major purely because I was enjoying the game and thought I might not be able to continue), I encountered which meant me having to restart the game, after devoting 2 hours of game play, which felt a bit wasted. When loading a save file while I was with a fortune teller, the protagonist I was in control of for that level froze, as did the fortune teller. After hopping from some scenes and coming back again, I managed to get the main character back to normal, but alas the fortune teller could not be interacted with, which meant I could not advance any further. The only reason I restated this game was because I wanted to keep going, see how the stories goes and ultimately complete it.
Overall this game pays homage without relying on used tricks and successfully imbues the genre with its own unique style. This is how point and click adventures should be done and it’s a testament that there is still life in this genre. Now if you’ll excuse me I'm off to play the sequel.