Point and click adventure games seem to be having a bit of a resurgence recently, and one of the latest entrants to the genre is The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 developed by KING Art. This is a direct sequel to the first Unwritten Tales, but as a newcomer to the series I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on too much as character’s backgrounds were divulged rather quickly.
The Book Of Unwritten Spells 2 is set in the land of Aventasia, home to gnomes, mages, elves, humans, and other creatures. In this adventure title you control four main characters; Wilbur Weathervane the gnome mage, Princess Evo the elf, Nate the human pirate, and Critter the weird furry creature who reminded me of Cousin Itt from the Addams Family. When you meet them they’re all going about their lives following the events of the first game.
Princess Ivo is back at the palace in Elfburrow bored out of her mind and longing for adventure, while Wilbur takes up his post as a mage teacher in Seastone. Nate & Critter are up to no good on the flying pirate island of Tugator. Soon enough a new menace appears and a rather unusual epidemic takes root in Seastone, all centred around Cybil Van Buren and her daughter. I think the best way to compare Mrs Van Buren is to Harry Potter’s Dolores Umbridge, with an even bigger lust for power. This quickly spreads to the other locations drawing in all the main characters, as well as their friends.
The cast of characters is incredibly varied, from spying rats to inventive zombies who are trying to fight stereotypes, and who have a robot son. There are others too but discovering them is one of the joys this game provides. The voice acting of every character is top notch, and some of the lines will have you laughing aloud due to the brilliant delivery by the actors. The writing itself is overall humourous, though a couple of jokes do fall a bit flat, and there are a couple of sections in the plot that are predictable.
While The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 is full of references to other series, including the Elder Scrolls, Game Of Thrones, and Harry Potter, it does have enough of its own personality to rise above these and carve out its own identity. The game could also be considered part satire as it ridicules certain gaming tropes, like impractical armour or nonsense fetch quests. It is an adventure game that knows exactly what is needed to be successful, and then builds upon those foundations.
As an adventure game The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 can easily be placed amongst the best in its class, with interesting puzzles that test you but aren’t outright absurd. Some puzzles may seem a bit convoluted at first but as you pick items and make progress elsewhere it all makes logical sense. I mean you may not know why you’re encouraged to pick up glittery pink dung, but when you find yourself in a pyramid it all makes sense. There were a couple of instances where I did get stuck and had to resort to clicking everything before finding a solution, but thankfully those were few and far between. However, you are helped with the spacebar as a press of that reveals every point of interest in a location.
Visually The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 is the best looking point and click title I have played, with incredible looking environments that are very colourful, and it has well implemented dynamic lighting. The character models are for the most part nicely done, though there occasional issues with facial animations where lip movements don’t always sync up to the words. The art team at KING has done some incredible work with the game, from the summery Elfburrow to the more wintry Seastone. You also have the music which compliments the art and game nicely, with the compositions being both fantastic and memorable. While the music does repeat itself it never feels like it is getting on your nerves.
While the majority of the game does run smoothly there are some bugs that need addressing. On a few occasions I would click on a location for a character to walk to only for them to get stuck in a loop of taking one step forward and one step back, as if they were practising for a waltz. Eventually they would move off on their own accord. However, there was one occasion where I had to reload the game due to character getting caught in a loop, and that was when I asked a robot to get on a seesaw for a second time. That scenario makes sense in context, believe me.
Luckily the autosave feature means you will never start too far back, though it is a good idea to keep a manual save too. Other bugs included character voice volume suddenly dropping or muting, though these only occurred on certain sentences. One other is on the optional game of pirate poker where I couldn’t select any options, and also couldn’t back out of the game resulting in a reload. Again, lucky this wasn’t a required task to tackle for progression.
The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 is one of the best point and click adventure titles to be released, and stands as an example of what the genre has to offer. I would easily place it in the company of revered adventure titles like Grim Fandango or Tales Of Monkey Island, perhaps even surpassing them as it takes what made those titles great and expands upon them. KING Art has created a game that rarely falters over its 21 hour playtime and if you’re a point and click fan then The Book Of Unwritten Tales 2 is highly recommended.