Point and Click adventure games are one of those types of games that we don’t quite see enough of, in my honest opinion. I’ll never forget my first Point and Click style game, 1997’s ‘Yoda Stories’. Obviously, that had more of an action-adventure feel to it as well, but it was my first experience within the genre. Enjoying that game led me to other Lucasarts titles of the same genre such as Sam and Max and Day of the Tentacle. I’m not going to claim to be the connoisseur of Point and Clicks, but it is nice to see developer KING Art Games keep the genre afloat with The Book of Unwritten Tales 2.
Full disclosure – I didn’t play the first two games (BouT and BouT: Critter Chronicles) and there were some moments in the game in which they referenced events from the previous games for comedic purposes. You don’t have to have played the previous games to enjoy the game as much as I did, but knowledge of previous characters and settings is surely an advantage – it’s just a shame these previous adventures aren’t also on current platforms!
The game is definitely not a new title. In fact, it has been released on every console and device since its original release for PC in 2015 after it was successfully funded by fans on Kickstarter. It has been on PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and One, Nintendo Wii U, and both mobile platforms. So, of course, it would make sense to release on the Nintendo Switch as well.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 starts off very exciting as you are FALLING FROM THE SKY, I believe that at this point Nate, our protagonist, is talking about the events from the previous games. From there you will go into a tutorial that shows you all of the actions and whatnot that you will use to progress in the game. I would say that if you are new to this type of game, it is highly recommended that you pay attention as they do a pretty decent job describing how Point and Clicks are played. Veterans will feel right at home though!
As you play the game, the game shifts around whom you control. The characters from the original game, Princess Ivo, Wilbur, Nate and Critter are back. It has been some time since the events of the first game. The world has been at peace this past year, but events unfold that will bring the gang back together. There is a new threat in the world of Avantasia that is turning beasts into plush puppies and the castles of the land into oversized dollhouses.
Comedy is the main focus of the gameplay and KING Art Games doesn’t want you to forget that. If I didn’t know better, I would say that when the game was being developed, the team may have been watching every Monty Python film for inspiration, I mean shoot, look at the name of the game! The game knows it is a game and loves to play on fourth-wall breaking aspects, it even makes fun of certain tropes that pop up frequently in other games and movies. For example, the mayor of the Dark Woods makes note of how it is always dark when you come to town – something that’s so obvious, based on the name of the town, yet it’s very observational and to-the-point comedy.
Any dialogue from Benny is A+ in my opinion! The humour can vary at times, though. Some moments had me audibly laughing out loud, whereas others fell a bit short. I think that it has to do with it being almost forced sometimes as every scene tried to push some form of joke or pun. That was why I was pleasantly surprised by how dark the game can get as well. You can expect to put in about 30 hours between the 5 chapters to see you to the end of your adventure that spoofs all your favourite fantasy adventure such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.
Moving around in Avantasia is pretty simple, though I did feel like it was kind of clunky at first. I was originally playing the game on the dock, so I tried going into handheld mode on my Nintendo Switch and that did not seem to help. It’s basically a Point and Click, yet you move the character and interact with hot-spots you get into proximity of, like in The Raven: Remastered. It bothered me a bit from time to time, but overall I was able to get used to it. One feature that is included that I absolutely loved is that if you hit X, everything in your environment that you can interact with will be highlighted. This helps a lot as there were times I couldn’t distinguish what I could interact with, because of my old age! It can sometimes be very frustrating when you are not sure what to do next in a game, but by having that feature on, you know what to experiment with to figure out how to progress.
If you’re new to the genre, don’t expect a lot of action or adventure, as you’d see in games like Uncharted or Tomb Raider – The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is still packed with action and adventure, only in a more narrative and story fashion. The game also features a decent amount of puzzles ranging from simple inventory puzzles to collect-a-thons and environmental puzzles. The only issues I had with the puzzles in the game is that they felt entirely too simple. That is not necessarily a fault of the game though. If anything, I feel more people will enjoy the straightforward nature and easy to work out solutions – no moon logic or insanely cryptic conundrums here!
As you progress throughout the game, you’ll begin to take control of various characters, each with their own personalities and sense of humour. You’ll also come across a few instances where swapping between characters becomes a core gameplay mechanic to overcome a few of the later puzzles. This is all handled really well and does increase the thought process a little in terms of working out what to do and how to solve the issue at hand. There doesn’t appear to be any multiple endings or branching pathways, as the game is quite linear, but there are a number of missable interactions and events which would result in ‘trophies’ on the PS versions, so even if you think you’ve seen everything, there may have been events you missed. Personally, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a game I can easily see myself coming back to once a year or so just to replay and experience the adventure once more.
I really like the graphics and overall visuals within the game. I feel like the use of bright colours and not shooting for hyper-realistic graphics makes The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 a game that is not only pleasing to the eye but also very approachable no matter whenever you decide to play the game. We are all guilty of the almighty “Backlog” that we swear we will get back to eventually. I’ve had more games than I care to admit that have gone to that backlog which no longer visually appeal to me. I’d happily go back and replay this game on my PS3 today – if I had it.
Also, I made reference to The Raven: Remastered earlier on in the review, KING Art Games are also the team behind that game as well as the Black Mirror reboot from 2018. The team really are keen on keeping the narrative adventure genre alive with their very distinct art style and love for the genre.
To go along with nice visuals are the sounds of the game. I really liked the soundtrack to The Book of Unwritten Tales 2! There were many moments where I felt like I was listening to film composer John Williams. The first time you meet Princess Ivo, the music has that big brass sound that kind of reminded me of the Star Wars theme. You know what I mean right? Back me up fellow band people! I liked the voice acting in the game a lot as well, I felt the delivery of the lines was almost as funny as the actual narrative. That being said though, lip-syncing wasn’t done very well – this is common across all KING Art Games if I’m being honest. I was able to get over that quick enough, but it can be pretty distracting when you first start the game.
Official Trailer (best trailer ever):
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 was a delight to work my way through and a joy to play. I like playing these older games sometimes because if I do get stuck, I can easily find a guide online, though the puzzles in this game are not hard most of the time. This is a game that you will be able to play at any time and it will hold up due to the art style presented within it. I loved being absorbed by the whimsical story and fantastical locations, it’s a very relaxing game with a lot of eye candy and tonnes of pop-culture references ranging from films to games.
I want to go back and play the first two games now and hopefully down the line, KING Art Games will find a way to make a 3rd Book of Unwritten Tales. I think we all want to see the next adventure our unlikely heroes get caught up within!