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The Book Of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles (PC) Review

 
the book of unwritten tales the critter chronicles image
the book of unwritten tales the critter chronicles image
the book of unwritten tales the critter chronicles image

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
6.5
6.5/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


Muppet Inspired Critter
Penguins!
Pleasant Humour

Not so much?


Location Repetition
Am-Dram Cast
Narrow game world


Final Fiendish Findings?

Overall The Critter Chronicles was an enjoyable slice of point and click adventure. It has a warm heart and some lovingly realised characters. Ultimately though, much like the frozen desolate wastelands, the game feels too isolated from the world itself. A sparse cast of characters and repetitive use of locations makes the game feel very narrow in focus. Whilst the puzzles are quite simplistic, that could be considered a bonus for those of you that enjoy the telling of a story more than the taxing of the brain. I wouldn’t hesitate to snap up this game and its predecessor, The Book Of Unwritten Tales, if you see them going for a good price on Steam.

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Posted January 13, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

In England, the vision of a  “white christmas” as portrayed in films and TV programmes is a horrible lie. Even home produced TV content still pumps out fake snow during the Christmas specials despite us all knowing that it’ll only piss it down with rain.

So I was quite pleased that my assignment over the festive break was to review the snow heavy The Book Of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles. It’s a happy go lucky entry into the point and click adventure genre that’s full of warmth and good humour, if lacking in certain other departments.

A prequel to the first game, The Book Of Unwritten Tales, you start the game as Nate, on the run with a questionably acquired airship before you are attacked by a bounty hunter seeking to return the ship back to its owner, along with yourself for punishment.

After a lot of back and forth across the same few screen locations and some relatively easy puzzle solving to rid yourself of your pursuer. The plan immediately backfires and you end up crashing into the cold tundra of the Northlands. It’s here that you meet the star of the show, Critter, and the rest of his tribe. As with the previous game, you can switch between both characters in order to solve the puzzles that will help you both escape from the frozen wastes.

the book of unwritten tales the critter chronicles image

Solving puzzles in Critter Chronicles was relatively easy, and that’s coming from someone who usually struggles with such things. I assumed briefly that maybe I was no longer stupid but sadly that is not the case at all. The ease of the game is mainly down to one the fundamental issue I have with it. The heavy and repetitive use of backgrounds and locations. Even by two thirds of the game through I think I could count the number of backdrops on one hand. There is a significant amount of location re-use that does mean you’ll never get too lost trying to solve puzzles, there are only so many permutations you can attempt before you stumble across the right one. The net result is that the game that feels more like a smallish DLC episode rather than a title priced at £17.99, so I’m not convinced about the entry retail price here. It’s questionable.

So what does it get right? Firstly atmosphere, the game world is beautifully drawn and realised, even though the human characters don’t shine quite as much as the their creature counterparts. The game has a warm hearted comedic tone that gave me a few good chuckles throughout. Whilst the first chapter was rather dry and plodding in nature, the introduction of the Muppet inspired alien Critter and his species really liven up the second and third acts. Playing the game as Critter made for some very amusing moments, particularly as eats and pulls out of his stomach all of the items you acquire, and his imitation of certain objects when you click on them. The game also features an ultra adorable baby critter and an ingenious use for penguins that could solve the world’s energy demands if harnessed on a large enough scale.

the book of unwritten tales the critter chronicles image

The voice acting features some lively performances that could have easily been lifted from a Saturday morning cartoon. However it can sometimes sound as though the developers have rounded up a local amateur dramatics society, with some of the acting sounding very forced, particularly with the lead Nate. The score that accompanies the game is also quite enjoyable to listen to and fits in perfectly with the light hearted fantasy world that has been developed.

Overall The Critter Chronicles was an enjoyable slice of point and click adventure. It has a warm heart and some lovingly realised characters. Ultimately though, much like the frozen desolate wastelands, the game feels too isolated from the world itself. A sparse cast of characters and repetitive use of locations makes the game feel very narrow in focus.

Whilst the puzzles are quite simplistic, that could be considered a bonus for those of you that enjoy the telling of a story more than the taxing of the brain. I wouldn’t hesitate to snap up this game and its predecessor, The Book Of Unwritten Tales, if you see them going for a good price on Steam.


Adam

 
Playing games since I'd developed enough motor functions to hold a joystick. From Commodore 64 all the way through to the latest gen. Favourite games to play are FPS games and anything with a deep and compelling story and a world that draws you in. I also enjoy writing, film making and playing bass in whatever band will have me :)