What is it?
Once more we return to Aventasia. This is the land of
Wilbur Weathervane, Ivodora Eleanora Clarissa (better known as Ivo),
Captain Nathanial (Nate) Bonnet, and Critter. Yes, it's a sequel, but
no, that's not necessarily a bad thing. There are more tales to tell
from the Book of Unwritten Tales, and this is number two.
In between the first Book of Unwritten Tales and
Book of Unwritten Tales 2 (BoUT2) there was a prequel that
mostly concerns how Nate and Critter became a team, but you don't
actually need to have played that one to enjoy this one. However, I
would recommend playing the first Book of Unwritten Tales as
there is not much time spent explaining how our characters are
Is there a plot?
By the end of the first Book of Unwritten Tales,
our four protagonists had saved the world from Munkus, son of Mortroga
the witch, and hid the Artifact of Divine Fate. Except that Munkus
wasn't captured or killed or even banished from the kingdom. Like the
bad guys of the 50s and 60s, Fu Manchu for example, he escaped to fight
The new story starts with the team broken and split up
around Aventasia. Ivo is at home in the Elven Kingdom, Wilbur is
teaching at the Seastone Magic Academy. And Nate is falling through the
sky after his ship has been destroyed. All three will go through some
pretty life-changing experiences, and Critter will be Critter, while
working through the consequences of the war and being on the wrong side
How do you play?
Book of Unwritten Tales 2
is a point and click adventure, just like the first one. We have 3D
pre-rendered backgrounds, and characters who walk / climb / fly around
in them. The scenes are often wider than a single screen-full and scroll
as you move your principle character to the appropriate edge. You can
double click on exits, and the inventory and menu are found in the icons
of a backpack and a book in the bottom right of the screen. In this
sense, it's a pretty simple adventure game. The user interface really
gets out of the way, leaving very nearly the entire screen for the
scene, and what scenes they are. We have a junk heap under Seastone, we
have the untidy, cob-webby Seastone academy, and a sand-covered, lost
city in the desert, we have an almost deserted pirate-island-in-the-sky,
and a dark cavern even further under Seastone. It seems that Aventasia,
with the exception of the Elven Kingdom, is a tremendously messy place!
As with the previous games, you play the game with the
various major characters taking the lead role at different times. Most
of the time, the story is just moved from character to character, but
there are some parts where you need to cooperate between two or more of
them to make progress.
Puzzles, now puzzles in Aventasia are surprisingly
logical, for a magical world. Of course, we have Wilbur and Ivo, so some
magic is inevitably involved; and the bad guys in Aventasia always seem
to have magical powers. There are even some references to other magical
worlds - such as the Harry Potter stories.
We have lots of inventory puzzles in BoUT2;
fetching and carrying things for people, but we also get plenty of more
complex 'making things' puzzles, where various ingredients are combined
to make something new, and dialog puzzles, such as the cocktails game,
or the rebels' secret hand sign.
When I reviewed the first Book of Unwritten Tales,
I waxed lyrical... well, maybe not lyrical, but certainly at some
length, about the quality of the voice acting, the humour, and the
colourful scenes and graphics. In this sequel, KING Art Games have
definitely kept the quality at the same very high level. There's not a
single duff voice actor; the world is still colourful and detailed; and
the humour is still there. I still love the voices; the range of accents
is wide, from Welsh, to an RP (received pronunciation) English accent,
an American (I don't know which one, I just know it's not New York or
Southern States), and a Critter-ese accent, whatever that might be, just
amongst the leading characters. There are plenty of others too.
The strangest part of Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is
the tutorial/opening credits mash-up. For one thing, it kinda doesn't
quite match the rest of the game stylistically, and what's strangest is
that you already have to have solved Nate Bonnet's opening predicament
to get to the tutorial in the first place.
OK, Book of Unwritten Tales 2
is a strong sequel: good humour, talented actors, twisty and engaging
story-telling, just like the first one. But that's it. It's still all
there, but no more than that. The game is episode two of the story, but
the developers haven't really pushed the game much further technically
(except for the addition of Steam achievements, which is hardly news
these days). A strong adventure game, true, but not an innovative one
this time, hence the blemish on the overall grade I've given.
All in all, there seems to be well in excess of 20 hours
game play, even if you're pretty good at the logic of BoUT games.
And what's more, on a positive note, the story isn't over by the time
you get to the end of the final confrontation. There are un-resolved
threads that beg another instalment of this tale. So let's not be
down-hearted about this one: it should be a stepping stone to more of
Nate, Wilbur, Ivo and Critter.
What do you need to play it?
Processor: 2.0 GHz CPU
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Drive: 13 GB available space
Mac or Linux:
OS: OS X Version Leopard 10.5.8, Snow
Leopard 10.6.3, or SteamOS + Linux
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8 Series or
higher/ATI X1600 or higher (Pixel Shader 3.0)
Additional Notes: Compatible with
MacBook Air 2013
OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8, with
Graphics: DirectX 9c compatible
graphic card with 512 MB RAM and PixelShader 3.0
(I used a home-built 64-bit Windows 8.1 PC running on an
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual 5200+ processor, with 6 GB RAM, and a Sapphire
Radeon HD4670 512MB video card, with on-mother-board, built-in sound
card. I also confirmed that the game runs on Windows 10 too, though it
may crash if you Alt-tab back to the desktop)
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