I never thought I’d see the day when the adventure game would be so relevant again. I remember playing Full Throttle and Grim Fandango for the first time and how those games blew me away with the stories they had to tell. So I was delighted to have a chance to check out Book of Unwritten Tales: Critter Chronicles and see if the classic adventure game formula still works today.
Book of Unwritten Tales – Critter Chronicles is, as I said, a classic point-and-click adventure game developed by KING Art and a prequel to their previous adventure game, simply titled Book of Unwritten Tales. It is a story of the would-be adventurer Nate Bonnett and how he met his hairy sidekick, Critter.
Nate Bonnett is a classic adventure game protagonist. Exceptionally arrogant and over-confident, he manages to piss off everyone and everything he comes across. He’s a buffoon of epic proportions and constantly scrapes by on the skin of his teeth, adventure gaming at it’s best! His sidekick, Critter, is a much more reserved creature who speaks little English and instead gets his point across with gibberish and wonderful animations.
The first thing that jumps out at you when you launch Critter Chronicles is just how pretty it is. From a technical standpoint there’s not much to it. But the art style they’ve chosen is very attractive and the character designs are great. The game uses pre-rendered backgrounds to great efficiency adding to that classic adventure game feel they clearly draw their inspiration from.
The game’s story is indeed a very interesting one. KING Art have done a really good job in crafting unique and likeable characters. The game manages to stand on it’s own legs very well, I never played Book of Unwritten Tales and I was easily able to keep up with everything going on in the game, even Critter’s gibberish started to make some sort of sense near the end.
The game doles out humour at a steady pace that pays off more often than not. It uses a lot of referential humour taking in multiple facets of pop culture, including an amazing reference to another of my favourite titles; Day of the Tentacle, which can be very hit or miss depending on whether or not you get the joke.
The classic adventure formula is very much here in the gameplay. You’ll be pointing and clicking yourself sore looking for any item you can get your grubby hands on. The game features ridiculous items with ridiculous ways of using them. There are no rubber chickens with a pulley in the middle to be found but plenty of interesting stuff for sure. The puzzles are mostly attainable through some careful thinking but occasionally puzzles feel nonsensical and must be complete through brute force. Thankfully, this wasn’t a problem very often.
The music within Critter Chronicles is a delight to listen to. It all has a really nice fantasy feel to it and it fits the game and the situation very well. The voice acting found here is also mostly great from start to finish.
Some of my favourite games of all time are adventure games and it’s really good to see developers treating these games like this. There is a clear love of the genre in this game and if you’re a fan of adventure games or if you’ve played the original Book of Unwritten Tales, I definitely recommend picking this up. If you aren’t really into adventure games however, I’m not sure if this will be the game to sway your opinion.
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