The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a point and click adventure set in a whimsical fantasy world. Talking with lively characters, interacting with fantastical objects, casting spells and getting up to mischief are just a few things you can expect when playing Nordic Games’ latest entry in the series. But do its flaws out-way its charm?
Played/Co-written by Rachelle Suri-Tucker
If you’ve played some point and click adventures before, you’ll know what to expect from The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. No action, slow-paced, it’s certainly a game that you can relax and take your time with. However, KING Art may have taken this a bit too literally, as the characters you control move veeerrrryyy slooooowwwwwly. Even interacting with objects takes just a second longer than it needs to. It’s less of a point and click and more of a dawdle and click. This may have been realised during development as the added fast travel option is a real time saver, however you can only use it in certain sections of the game. Whilst playing through the game, there were a few other moments where we thought that it could have been useful.
As is the theme of point and click adventures, you will often find yourself at a loss of what to do next. Some solutions cause a raised eyebrow or two, such as having to solve puzzles by interacting with an object multiple times. Other solutions just seem so obscure that you may just find yourself shaking your head. Don’t be afraid to use a walkthrough from time-to-time, it’s better than rage quitting altogether.
The way that the camera is situated can sometimes make it difficult to determine your depth perception, making you misjudge certain objects’ locations. However if you press X, it will highlight everyone and everything that you can interact with.
We noticed from time to time that the frame rate would just randomly dip for a split second. As a slow moving point and click adventure game, this didn’t hinder gameplay all that much, but it was jarring, nonetheless.
As a point and click adventure on the Nintendo Switch, we were surprised to discover that The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 does not support touch screen controls in handheld mode. We suppose that it does make sense as you control the character rather than a cursor, but it’s an odd choice just to completely disregard a touchscreen option entirely.
The overarching plot serves as a competent buffer, but it isn’t the appeal of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. Rather, it’s more about the NPCs that you’ll meet along the way, each with their own unique personalities. As you progress through the story, you’ll control one of four characters: Wilbur the Gnome, Ivo the Elven princess, Nate the pirate and his sidekick, Critter. Each character brings their own flair to the experience, with high quality voice acting that’s enthusiastic and well timed.
The dialogue in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is absolutely hilarious, with great references and fantastic puns. This aspect is the main draw of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 so if you like a good laugh, then this game might be for you. The humour is often at the game’s own expense, being incredibly self-referential and fourth-wall breaking.
Like many games in the genre, half of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is to simply interact with as many objects and NPCs as possible. You’ll often find yourself stumbling upon a side-splitting joke or an endearing session of sea-sawing between a gnome and a robot that will have you smiling from ear-to-ear.
For the majority of the game, the tone is quite light-hearted. However, there is an overarching plot that consistently reminds you of the darker political themes within the story.
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Without spoiling too much, the ending was very anticlimactic and left us feeling like “oh, that’s it?”. It was a very sudden ending that left some questions unanswered. This may be because King ART wish to work on a third instalment, however it certainly put a bitter aftertaste in our mouths when those credits rolled.
Graphics / Art Direction
The art direction in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is charming. KING Art clearly didn’t go all out with the textures and graphical fidelity, but we believe that this decision plays to its strengths. It certainly has a dose of charm to it with its attention to subtle details.
However, the cut corners tend to stand out. It is a little off-putting as soon as you notice that the lips don’t move in time with the voice acting as they were dubbed over the top (sorry, you won’t be able to unnotice it now).
Don’t expect too much from this game visually as it is merely a port of a game that was made to run on the PS3/Xbox 360 generation of consoles.
Music / Sound Design
The music is whimsical and jolly, providing happy vibes that compliments the wacky dialogue. However when you are at a lost of what to do next, the music can become very repetitive and will ultimately make you even more frustrated.
Each time you solve a puzzle, a little jingle will sound off. You’ll quickly fall in love with it as it’s often coupled with a massive sigh of relief.
The default volume setting makes the dialogue difficult to hear over the music. We’d vehemently suggest making the dialogue louder and the music softer in the settings menu from the very beginning.
Final Score 67%
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a charming 20 hour experience that will often have you smiling at its sheer wackiness. Aside from its clever dialogue and interesting story tidbits, the game is often frustrating and tedious due to the excessively slow movement and the sometimes bizarre puzzle design.