It’s news to roughly nobody that the pointy-clicky genre has seen quite a resurgence lately, and whether that’s come about through the involvement of Telltale and their excellent console-friendly series or the influx of unusually consistently excellent titles on Steam recently, but there’s no denying that these slower paced adventures are getting back into the public eye in a way that hasn’t been the case for many years. Part of that revival was The Book of Unwritten Tales, released nearly three years ago to a very warm reception – even Dean enjoyed it before writing our review.
Just recently the next part in that very same adventure arrived, taking on the unsurprising title The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, and it’s still got every last big of charm and enjoyment that the original had. The adventure takes place in the land of Aventesia, with the same characters taking centre stage again to be controlled by you at various stages through the game. Wilbur Weathervane the gnome, elf princess Ivo, bizarre-sounding thing Critter and adventurer Nate start the game having their own issues to deal with (my personal favourite being Critter trying to sort out Nate’s hangover) but some time into the game there’s more freedom to flick between the various characters at will, something which is not only encouraged but actually required in order to solve some of the game’s later puzzles.
As for the story, which in games like this is all-important, it’s not the greatest you’ll find but at the same time it does everything it needs to do and is driven on by some excellent humour and clever references to various other video games and popular culture. The voice work is spot on too, with every character in the game being excellently acted and making the cast extremely likeable, even down to the smaller support characters who pop up at various points through the game. It’s enough to enjoy the story more than you might normally, and is a stark reminder of how good voice work can make or break a game of this ilk.
A mechanic which we’re seeing more of nowadays makes a useful return here too, with a press of the space bar highlighting any interactive items in the current area. Some see this as taking away a core component of the genre, but I don’t see the difference between this and aimlessly clicking around the screen trying to find something subtle to click on to advance. Personally I find it makes these games more accessible to a wider audience, and surely that can only be seen as a good thing.
But the biggest thing you’ll notice against other clicky games is just how incredible this looks. The developers have done an excellent job making Unwritten Tales 2 incredibly beautiful in places, with some lighting effects that wouldn’t look out of place in a big budget blockbuster. Characters are detailed and well drawn, locations are atmospheric and interesting (and not always staying still…) and animations are done with immense skill, helping out the general feel of the game no end. For a game in the pointy-clicky style, it’s very spectacular indeed.
So with some enjoyable puzzles on offer, some excellent characterisation and gorgeous visuals the only stumbling block you’ll possibly find is the bane of the pointy-clicky world – those puzzles which just don’t make any sense until you solve them a week later, and suddenly seem like the most obvious thing in the world. Walkthroughs do already exist though, and there’s no shame (I hope) in dipping in to help you get out of a dark corner.
Generally though, if you’re a fan of the genre you’ll love it. There’s no maybe, there’s no “unless…”, if you’re a fan of pointy-clicky games then you should be adding this to your library, even if you haven’t played the first one. It’s a great game.
Reviewed on PC