Let's start off with the news bit: indie, European point-and-click adventure game The Book of Unwritten Tales can now be grabbed with a hefty 20% discount and is happily accompanied by a further 20% discount gift coupon that can apparently be gifted to a misanthropic friend of yours. Mind you, this being a holiday offer, it will only be available up to the 24th of December and only for the downloadable version of the game that can be grabbed via the King Art Online Store. You know what to do now, don't you? Buy it now and thank me later. Yes, truffles will be fine. Truffle-oil too.
Supposing you haven't heard of The Book of Unwritten Tales, well, reader, there's always the thing's free demo you know. It should be all you need to be convinced of the Book's quality, elegant interface, overall polish, well-written plot, intriguing puzzles and stunning graphics. If you feel that more info will be necessary, you could alternatively google for its glowing reviews, wait for the upcoming Gnome's Lair review (this is a huge game, you know...) or just read my first impressions that are following this very paragraph.
So, I suppose the main question is: what do I so far think? Well, after only 5 hours of gameplay and having thus only scratched the game's surface, I must admit I'm deeply impressed. The Book of Unwritten Tales is the first full-length, full-blown, non-retroesque, properly ambitious and definitely quality adventure game I've played since, I believe, Scratches. Actually, as this is a humorous fantasy offering and I have criminally missed The Whispered World, this is one of the truly rare games that evoke the glory days of the genre.
The first thing that stands out is of course the visual richness of BoUT. Every background is lively, happily zoomable and scrollable, filled with detail, perfectly lighted, varied, unique and based on some truly amazing artwork. What's more, the 3D characters are of the same high quality and blend-in effortlessly, thus creating a beautiful, coherent and happily HD whole. These, reader, are some of the best graphics ever to appear in an adventure game. Ever!
Even more impressively, both the music and the game's voice-over stand up to the visual quality on offer, as do the writing, the puzzles and the pacing. BoUT is indeed a very well designed game. It starts off with an excellent yet wisely brief introduction, goes on to a short playable bit that acts as a tutorial for the intuitive control system and then moves on to to the proper game and introduces the second (of four!) playable characters. The puzzles, though never too difficult (so far at least) are quite varied and seem to get progressively more challenging and elaborate. Oh, and the humour actually works, but more on this and the rest of the game in the forthcoming review which should appear pretty soon.
Now, if you'll excuse me I have a weird furry creature to guide, while Death remains buried following an elaborate and pretty hopeless business scheme...
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