What have we here?
Amazing! It's already nigh on three years since the first Book of Unwritten Tales
game was released. We've had the Critter Chronicles
early last year (a prequel which covered Nate & Critter's adventures prior to the first game), and now we've got a proper sequel to the first game too. The title is quite dull - it's the Book of Unwritten Tales 2
(BoUT2). For me, though, the idea of returning to the tales of Wilbur, Ivo & Cheep Cheep, Critter & Nate makes that title so much more of an attractive prospect.
What I have in my grubby, electronic hands, is a Steam early-access preview of the game. It's basically a beta testing version of the first chapter of the game.Notes from a short journey
I'm going to be a bit tolerant here, because this is a beta test version. Mind you, given that, the polish is already there in BoUT2 - the dialog is excellent, the animations smooth, the music in place, and the graphics as fine and as detailed and as colourful as the first game. King Art have not
gone into 'cheap sequel' mode on this game.
Story-wise, BoUT2 reintroduces the original quintet of characters over three separate strands. It's clear that they have gone their separate ways after the conclusion of the original BoUT. Nate is still trying (and failing) to sail the skies, Ivo has returned home to the kingdom of the elves, and Wilbur is teaching at the newly re-discovered Seastone School of Magic. It's fairly clear that their stories will re-connect in the future, but not in the first chapter; they all have their own problems to solve first.
The game follows the format of the first, with small tweaks. It's a point and click adventure just like you'd expect. The is one subtle tweak though, and that is that first click on an object will describe it, and if you can interact with the object, the second will provide the interaction icon. This works well, and there's even a tutorial during the opening credit sequence to help you get used to it. In fact I barely noticed the difference it made, until it occurred to me that the mouse icon changed when passing over objects I already looked at.
The story-telling of the BoUT games is well paced, and has great humour... well, I think it's funny, but then we know that humour is totally subjective. You'd never know that the development team is principally German; a fact that would make a British audience expect something to be lacking in the humour department.Jumping to conclusions?
Obviously Book of Unwritten Tales 2
is not complete yet, and I don't know how many chapters there will be in the final game, but what we have now is a fine introduction to a high quality sequel. Perhaps I should stop using that word, and turn to calling it 'an excellent continuation to the story of Ivo, Nate, Wilbur and their friends.'