Not your average adventure game.
Point-and-click adventure games have come a long way since their inception. While modern versions still retain the same basic structure, these games have become much more elaborate in terms of puzzles, locations, and number of playable characters. Developers KING Art introduced The Book of Unwritten Tales to universal accolades in 2012, and thankfully, the sequel is more of the same. That might not be enough for most sequels to be successful, but in this case, fans want to follow the characters they grew to love on another wacky adventure filled with irreverent humor and challenging puzzles.
Just like the first game, promising virtual adventurers guide Wilbur the novice gnome mage, Nate the narcissistic human, Ivo the elf princess, and the pink furball known only as “Critter” on an elaborate adventure in the fantasy land of Aventasia. After defeating the dastardly goblins at the end of the first game, all four unlikely heroes have gone their separate ways. Now they must, err, four-go their differences and reunite to thwart a complex scheme involving a mysterious plague that's spreading throughout the lands, plans to assassinate the Archmage, and the unusual transformation of Aventasia itself.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 begins with Nate freefalling through the air amongst a plethora of debris, and players must figure out how to guide him to safety. The second scene is a basic tutorial of sorts and then the real adventure begins. At first each character has their own scenario, such as Ivo trying to escape her castle or Wilbur dealing with his insecurities as a newly-appointed mage trainer. After the group has reformed, the ability to switch between characters becomes available. It's really cool to have the opportunity to try different puzzles in case I get stuck on one because, to me, that's the most common reason to abandon a point-and-click adventure.
Don't get me wrong. Most of the puzzles don't take the advanced intellect of Sherlock Holmes to solve, but some can be quite challenging. It might seem elementary to employ the basic pattern of trying to use every object on every interact-able location, but that doesn't always yield the correct result. Players must also say the correct things to the correct people, combine certain items, and perform operations in the correct order to progress. When you add multiple scenes for each area, it can take quite a long time to go through every possible scenario. Fortunately, pressing the space bar will display everything onscreen that the player can interact with, which both saves time and also prevents sudden outbursts of profanity.
Let it be known that The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is packed with even more video game humor and homages to fandom than its predecessor. In fact, the geekier the player is, the more they will enjoy this game thanks to references to Minecraft, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Pac-Man, Star Wars, Mario Bros., and much more! One of my favorite jokes is how the Mage Master is caught up in a new type of live-action RPG where he gladly leaves the world of magic and monsters to portray a contractor who's caught in an endless traffic jam. How enthralling! Other jokes poke fun at politics, elections, corruption, technology, and bratty kids.
Is The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 worth getting? Definitely! Although it doesn't add much innovation to the series, this game offers a more complex and fine-tuned adventure than its predecessor. Both the character models and backgrounds have more detail, and the audio is top-notch. In addition, the in-game humor actually makes me laugh out loud, which doesn't happen very often. Not everyone will appreciate the slow pace, but it's faster than the arrival of a certain snowy season. Besides, playing this game is a great way to lower your blood pressure after a lengthy session of your favorite shooter.