Some of my favorite adventure characters are back! The fun-loving Gnome mage Wilbur Weathervane, the Elven princess Ivodora Clarissa (Ivo), the cocky adventurer Nate Bonnet, and the cute and furry Critter. KING Art brings them all back in the sequel to their hit game The Book of Unwritten Tales.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is scheduled to release in early 2015, but as of September 4th it is available as part of Steam’s Early Access program. KING Art will be releasing the game in chapters so the players can help put the final polish on the game. If you are wondering why someone would buy the game this way, look at it as an episodic adventure.
I was given the opportunity to preview the first chapter of the game and I was not disappointed! The game takes place approximately a year after the first game. (Keep in mind that if you have played the previous two games that the Critter Chronicles was actually a prequel.) The first chapter includes two parts where you play as Ivo and then switches you over to play as Wilbur. You start out the game with a quick peek at the predicament that Nate has found himself in and then the game moves on to a quick tutorial of the controls of the game. As with most point and click adventure games you will be familiar with the controls right away, but if not than the tutorial will help you out.
My one complaint about the tutorial is that it seems out of place as it comes after Nate’s scene and before the start of chapter one. The tutorial has nothing to do with the story, so sticking it in the middle seemed odd. Plus if you need a tutorial to play this type of game I feel it would be more useful before you introduce the main characters.
Chapter one starts with you at the home of Ivo where she is having issues with her mother due to her taking off in the previous adventure. Ivo of course doesn’t agree with her mother’s views for her life and we deal with that in this first part of the chapter. As with any game in an unpolished stage there were a few issues that I ran across, but none of them are game breaking and the community has already reported most of them.
After completing Ivo’s part of the chapter we move onto Wilbur’s portion. Wilbur is now teaching at the Mage Academy in Seastone and it’s his first day of class. I came across a few more glitches in this portion, but again they already had been reported and addressed by KING to be in the next update. One of these issues made me glad that I am a constant saver, since I was able to load up the last save and re-do the portion that was affected by the events of the glitch.
Unfortunately, the first chapter end abruptly and leaves you wanting more. On the positive side, the achievements are already included and you can go back and replay the game to earn those achievements you may have missed. (I need 4 more achievements myself)
I found the story to be on par with the last two games. The story is humorous, full of great jokes, and pop culture references. The UI has been improved from the previous games, where your inventory is now a backpack, the item icons are smaller than before, and they added the use of the space bar to highlight all the “hot spots” in each scene. The puzzles aren’t too hard, but they aren’t too easy either. The seemed to upped the difficulty slightly from the previous games, so you won’t get bored easily. The graphics are beautiful; the world looks amazing, and makes you want to just sit back and enjoy the view at times
Overall since the game is in Early Access and not a full product nor a finished one, giving the game a score at this point would be a great injustice to both the series and the developers. I will say that if you are an adventure game fan, a point and click fan, a puzzle games fan, or just a fan of KING Art games, pick up this game whether you do so now and help with the polishing stage or wait until its full release. If what I’ve experienced so far is any indication of the full game, I see this one exceeding the previous games in both quality and story.