Gaming has come a long way since the early 1990s.
Once blocky and pixelated 3D animations are now crystal clear and often so realistic you’re just not quite sure if you’re looking at a photograph. Genres have moved along too, with many games now feeling more like interactive movies and giving the player more free will than ever. There’s one genre that remains largely unchanged since the dawn of video games though: the point and click.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 could have been lifted straight off the Amiga 600; minus a graphical facelift, it feels very much like a point and click adventure game of old. That’s not a criticism though, far from it; the fact that it could happily rub shoulders with the likes of Discworld and The Secret of Monkey Island is a badge it wears with honour. From King Art Games, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 tells a magical story through the eyes of four main characters. It follows on directly from its predecessor, but if you haven’t played the first one (like me…) it doesn’t matter: the game makes reference to the events of the first game but this sequel has its own separate story so you can jump right in and not feel like you’re missing out on any of the jokes.
Speaking of which, jokes are what keeps The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 ticking over. It unashamedly mocks many popular franchises – most notably Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, and there are plenty more Easter eggs thrown in there too. Yes, as a result sometimes the humour may feel a little bit of a farce, but I enjoyed it, and the relentless spoofing kept me chuckling throughout. The game is split up into clear cut chapters, with gameplay being shared between each of the four main characters: Ivo the elf princess, Nate the adventurous prince and his alien companion Critter, and Wilbur the dwarf mage. Each character is exceptionally voiced, and the well-written script of the game will undoubtedly be one of the major facets that keeps you playing. The gorgeous cartoon-style graphics certainly add to the mix too; locations are a feast for the eyes, and character models are very well-detailed and nicely animated.
Gameplay wise, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 feels very familiar in a pleasant and welcoming way. If you’ve ever played any kind of point and click game before, you’ll instantly feel at home. Although the genre as a whole is suited more to the PC, using a mouse for literal pointing-and-clicking, the console controls have carried over really well. Your left stick moves your character throughout the environment, and your right stick toggles between all the selectable objects in the area. You can hit a button that will instantly show everything that’s interactive on your screen, which is very handy and saves a lot of monotonous clicking-everything-to-see-what-happens action that’s often inevitable in games of its type.
The puzzles are very varied, and whilst some may stump you, to the game’s credit, the majority are very logical and straightforward to work out. As much as I love point and click games, the one major gripe with them is that they can often be very obtuse, and sometimes there’s no other way to progress than combining every item in your inventory with everything humanly possible (troll slime and a mouse? why not!) just to see what happens. Thankfully, this was very minimal in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. That’s not to say the game is so easy that it’s boring; far from it: it still requires plenty of logic and a firm application of your thinking cap, but solutions aren’t so out-there that it takes away any enjoyment from the game.
The soundtrack is certainly worth commenting on, too. It’s a beautifully composed score that complements the locations perfectly. If you’re in the same area for too long though, it can start to feel a little repetitive, but it soon changes up as soon as you move onto the next location.
If you’re a fan of point and click games, you will not be disappointed with what The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 has to offer you. With a staggering 25-30 hours of gameplay, fully voiced characters, excellent soundtrack, great visuals and incessant hilarity (that may or may not warrant the odd groan) there really is very little to complain about here – especially when you take into consideration the extremely low price point of £20. If balls-to-the-wall action is more your thing, the sleepy pace may put you off (but if that’s the case, then just what are you doing playing a point and click? Are you lost?). For everyone else, grab your controller, get comfortable and prepare to get fully absorbed in the jovial and captivating lands of Aventasia.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the Xbox One version. Buy now on Amazon.