The Book of Unwritten Tales

Reviewed by  Mr. Bill and Lela

Wow!!!  What a great game!!  What a treat!  This is the way that adventure games used to be made in the good old days!  It's a welcome, modern example of the kind of fun that made us all fall in love with gaming in the first place, and playing it is guaranteed to make you feel good.  If you're like us, you'll enjoy every minute of this game, and really be sorry to see it end.

From the very beginning it all seems so laid-back, comfortable and familiar.  There's a short prologue that you play that is designed to both introduce you to the nature of your quest, and to serve as an excellent tutorial on how to play an adventure game, for those who are new to it.  Then dramatic orchestral music and beautiful movie-like cinematography carry you smoothly to the opening scene of the game itself.

It is a 3rd person, point and click game, with subtitles, adjustable music and sound, an inventory, a map for fast travel between locations, and unlimited saves.  Pressing the Esc key at any time will bring up the main menu, and pressing the Space bar will reveal all the hotspots in any given scene.  A digital manual is available (see note below this review), and the game even keeps track of how long you've been playing it.

You alternate between playing as one of 3 main characters (one of 4, very late in the game) depending on what job you need to do.  They are: Wilbur Weathervane, an idealistic young gnome with an adorable Welsh accent who longs to have a magical adventure and be a hero; Ivo, a haughty & sexy young wood elf, who is both intelligent and very, very nimble; and Nate, a cocksure, resourceful young human treasure hunter with his own airship.  Under normal circumstances, they would never socialize with each other.  But fortunately they are all soon cooperating and working for the greater good, because the situation that they face is dire.

Their world, Aventasia, has been ravaged by war.  The army of the Alliance of free people (elves, humans, dwarves and gnomes, etc) has been struggling unsuccessfully for years against the dark Shadow army of the Arch-Witch Mortroga and her son Munkus.  Then an old archeologist, MacGuffin, accidentally discovers, in a book, the key to ending the war.  It is the location of a legendary artifact that gives unlimited power to whoever possesses it.  But before he can get the information (the book and a ring) to the Arch-Mage of the Alliance, he is captured by Munkus.  On his way to Mortroga's dungeon, and not knowing how long he can survive torture, he enlists Ivo's assistance for the book, and drops the 'One' ring, with a plea for help, into young Wilbur's hand.  You begin your quest as Wilbur.

This is a very long game (4GB in 5 long chapters) and it is delightfully chock full of this kind of oblique reference to famous adventure movies and games.  The developers' love of and familiarity with the adventure genre shows in every setting and every line of dialogue, even in the music.  With a twinkle in their eye and tongue in cheek, they poke gentle fun at all of it, and it can't help but make you smile as you go along.

Everything about this game shows the care and thoughtfulness that they put into creating it.  The beautiful hand drawn 2D graphics are truly spectacular, pure art, rich in both color and minute detail.  It's a magical world, made real by the easy way the characters live and move within it, and by such small touches as the trees blowing gently in the wind, creatures breathing quietly in and out while asleep, or smoke escaping from a wood stove.  It all creates a totally immersive gaming experience.  Even the music is great, a brilliant orchestral combination of famous themes and original compositions.  We got the collector's edition of the game that includes a CD of the soundtrack, and we love it.

It feels like there are hundreds of puzzles in this game, because you are constantly busy doing something.  They vary in difficulty, and most are really fun to do.  But you always know what you have to do and usually how to go about it because they are all so logical and rational, not irrational or pointless as in so many other games.  And clues are everywhere, both in conversations and in the descriptions of items that you find. It is so refreshing to be able to play a challenging game straight through without any of the usual frustration involved, just because it is so well designed.

The story is engaging and the humor is great.  We'll never forget the characters who were addicted to an online fantasy role playing game called "World of Businesscraft" because it helped them to escape from the tedium of their day-to-day magical existence.  But what really makes this game unforgettable is all of the wonderfully endearing characters. Two of our personal favorites were 'Death' in pink bunny slippers, and 'The King of Thieves' who spoke in a voice that sounded exactly like Antonio Banderas.  The voice acting for every character, not just the main ones, was absolutely perfect, full of personality, and it made the game. It is the best voice acting that we have ever heard.

It is, without question, one of the best adventure games that we have ever played, and we would highly recommend it for both you and your family.  Do yourself a favor and go buy this game.

  April 2013  Mr. Bill and Lela

Full View Screenshot

NOTE:  There is a 20 page Game Manual that was installed onto your hard drive along with the game itself.  Using Windows Explorer, left click the My Computer folder, then on Drive C:, then on the Program Files folder where you will find the Book of Unwritten Tales Folder. When you left click on the Book of Unwritten Tales folder on the left-hand side of Windows Explorer, you will find, on the right-hand side, a manual.pdf file along with all of the other game files.  If you double click on the manual.pdf file, it will be opened in Adobe Reader where you can print it.

The initial German version was developed and released April 2009 by  King Art Games  and published by  HMH Interactive  (no longer exists).  A little over two years later it was released (October 2011) in English by  King Art Games  and published by  Lace Mamba Global.  These two releases were for the PC, but six months later (March 2012) it was released for the MAC.

Rated:   12   for 12+ (European PEGI Rating) (bad language)  Mr. Bill says it's not really.  It can and should be played by the whole family.

Minimum System Requirements:  Windows   MAC

Where To Buy This Game:

Walkthroughs or Hints:

"MaGtRo's Walkthrough" available here!

Mr. Bill's  Adventureland
Copyright  April 2013
All Rights Reserved