The Book of Unwritten Tales 2

 

Genre:   Adventure

Developer & Publisher:  King Art Games

Released:  February 2015

PC Requirements:   see review below

Additional screenshots   Walkthrough

 

 

by gremlin

 

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 connected.

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 another day.

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 of Munkus.

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.

Notable Features

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.

Oddities

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.

Conclusions

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.

Grade: A-

What do you need to play it?

General requirements:

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

Windows:

OS: Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8, with DirectX 9.0c

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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