The Book of Unwritten Tales – English Preview

Friday, 16 September 2011


The Book of Unwritten Tales is a soon to be released adventure game produced by King Art games. The game was originally developed and released for the German market back in 2009 and has received critical acclaim by local pundits. Two years on and we are now seeing the preview of the upcoming English release.


The Book of Unwritten Tales – Teaser Trailer


Here is some of the promotional material featured on the developers website:

“The Book of Unwritten Tales is a humorous Point & Click homage to the RPG and fantasy genre. In a world torn by war, the aged gremlin archaeologist Mortimer MacGuffin harbours the dark secret of a powerful artefact. Whoever calls this artefact his own, will determine the fate of the world.While the Army of the Shadows sends out its best and most devious agents to discover the secret, the Alliance's four heroes find themselves involuntarily drawn into the crisis..


The Book of Unwritten Tales – Live Burials

Humorous Point & Click homage to the RPG and fantasy genre.

About 20 hours of gameplay in a massive game world with detailed graphics.

Multi-character gameplay: Play as Wilbur, Nate, Ivo, and the Critter - in turn or simultaneously - and use the skills of your heroes wisely.

Meet numerous crazy characters - from two-headed ogres and vegetarian dragons to good-natured zombies.

Solve over 150 mind-boggling puzzles and discover more than 300 items that can be used and combined.”


Just watching the preview movies, you can tell that this game might very well be something special. For starters the games visuals are drop dead gorgeous, with beautifully rendered 3D characters, lighting and shadow effects. I’m not sure if the models have been pre-rendered and then animated or if the 3D engine has been focused to use very high spec of 3D models (my guess is pre-rendered models) but whatever the developers choice, the end result is a lush cartoon visual, which is without a doubt, eye candy for those who appreciate digital animation. But putting all of this aside, what truly has the pulse racing here is the amusing and witty dialogue through out, which looks set to be the games true highlight.

From just watching the preview movies, I already have flashbacks to the wit and humour of classic 90’s adventure games such as Simon the Sorcerer and The Secret of Monkey Island and the best part is that whilst this game could very well be inspired by those titles, you get a sense that there’s some very fresh and original humour going on here and it’s all been wrapped up and put together in a modern and stylish adventure game format.


Perhaps the biggest and most testing challenge for this game would have been the translation from German to English and ensuring that nothing is lost in that process and that there isn’t too much in the way of cultural bias (e.g. German only jokes and references etc.). So far based on the available previews, the translation appears to come along very nicely, hopefully this will be consistent through out. 

To me there are three key indicators that an adventure game will be a success, the first is based on the in game cinematic effects given over to the story, the second is puzzles and interactivity and the third is the wit and intelligent dialogue. When all three elements come together under one roof, you usually end up with an amazing experience. This combination of elements is something that I believe is now usually missing from the modern day adventure game, with most games bringing puzzles and visual elements but lack the cinema, interactivity and classy dialogue that made many of the early classics such a success. The reason I believe this combination is so powerful and act as catalyst to create a successful adventure game, is based on the feeling of playing a movie and being at the centre of an interactive character’s journey through that movie, deciding when his actions are performed and whether or not they will succeed through their choices, finding solutions to puzzles using whatever’s on hand and the creating a cinema and drama with in this space to frame and satisfy our altogether human needs of both being involved and being a passive witness to the cinematic experience, this is what adventure gaming is all about, or at least should be.


Book of Unwritten Tales - Dances with Bulls


From what I can tell, there are already a lot of these elements present in the game, I guess it will really be a matter of these particulars all being of a high standard, working well in combination and then some slick execution to really determine whether this will be a true classic or just another well presented game. Lets hope it’s the former.

The Book of Unwritten Tales website can be found here