In 2015, King Art Games put out a sequel to their well-received fantasy title The Book of Unwritten Tales. PC gamers got their hands on this game 4 years ago, but now it has made its way to the Switch. Does it hold up? Let’s talk about The Book of Unwritten Tales 2.
When its predecessor was released, it was touted as a great Point-and-Click title for its rich world and dynamic characters. The plot was nothing groundbreaking; three heroes set out to retrieve and learn more about an ancient artifact being wielded by a dangerous gremlin, Mortimer McGuffin. With a name like that, you can tell the series didn’t set itself up to be taken terribly seriously. In fact, the game was better for it. A great narrative, fun characters, and easy enough puzzles kept this game story-focused and held my interest throughout its entirety.
That was 2012, and in three years, something relatively important was happening in the Point-and-Click genre. Telltale, another game developer, had succeeded in producing Point-and-Click games for The Walking Dead and Back to the Future, which had led them to massive IP licenses like Batman, Game of Thrones, and Minecraft. Of course, Telltale is no longer up and running, but they revolutionized a new audience of gamers who no longer saw Point-and-Click games as boring. Good stories prevail, no matter the formula.
So where did The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 fit in with all of this? It was not a major IP, nor was it a part of the Telltale machine. It did, however, build on the successes of its first game, and succeed in building a great story yet again, with a few drawbacks. Primarily, its use of spoof and satire to capitalize on the often silly, unaware shallowness of fantasy genre staples like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and even Game of Thrones makes this game a fun play for fans of the narrative genre.
When the story opens up, Avantasia and Arch Witch Mortroga’s Army of the Shadows still fight for control of the Artefact of Divine Fate. The four characters at the center of this story are heartfelt, often hyperbolized versions of characters we have seen in other fantasy titles, but endearing nonetheless. That being said, the story behind The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is fairly handicapped by some of the lore and background information you would have gotten from the first game, making this a bit confusing for newcomers.
The Point-and-Click function is traditional in this game, with a click moving the character around, and certain hotspots delegated for interactions. Something I love in Point-and-Click games is when a hotspot disappears after you no longer need it, and that is present in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2. If you do not enjoy Point-and-Click games, this title is not for you, as it is very straightforward with its mechanics. Even a fun story will not get you past the limitations of pointing to move, interact, and maneuver throughout the game.
The game runs about 20-25 hours depending on the speed at which you complete quests and side quests. At one time, you may have a few options as to how to proceed, leaving you with a bit of control. In that time, the dialogue can get a bit too heavy-handed, with shots being taken at the ridiculousness of the hero trope, power, and political power-struggles as a whole. Voice acting makes up for this a bit but even then, by hour 18, I felt like that I was ready to put this one aside. Nevertheless, the journey needed completing.
Visually, the game is beautiful and with an atmospheric soundtrack scoring each adventure, it feels very much like a full-fledged fantasy epic. For being relatively PG in terms of gore and graphic content, the game does not feel like it is meant for children, and it is a little refreshing to find it a bit playful in nature. Overall, the game does a good job at utilizing its Point-and-Click nature to maintain its simplicity and playfulness. Fans of the fantasy genre and Point-and-Click games ought to give this a try, but may want to revisit the original first, which is not available on the Switch.
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A Nintendo Switch review copy of The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 was provided by King Art Games for the purpose of this review.