Adventure games have seen a huge resurgence in the past five years. For a genre that looked to be dying, the point-and-click adventure game has boomed with great titles and original stories. Back in 2011, The Book of Unwritten Tales was released to a positive reception, as adventure purists loved its back-to-basics approach and genuinely funny story. The sequel, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, aims to capitalize on that resurgence with the next chapter in the game’s story. Unfortunately, poor controls and forced dialogue make the PS4 version specifically a difficult game to recommend.
The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a point-and-click adventure game through and through. Poking around environments, engaging in long conversations, and piecing together inventory items to solve puzzles is the name of the game and players will do a lot of each. What made the first game so enjoyable was the dialogue that was legitimately funny without being ham-fisted. The sequel doesn’t walk that line fine enough as there are too many moments where the game seems to be screaming at the player to not only get the reference but be pounded over the head with it over and over again. Harry Potter jokes, Minecraft swords, a giant monster that looks like Sully from “Monster’s Inc.” and more unnecessary references fill the game to an annoying degree. While there are genuine moments of humor throughout the game, the overabundance of referential humor doesn’t do the game any favors.
Control is another problematic area for The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, specifically for the PS4 version. On the PC, you’re able to click areas quickly and get from room to room without issue. However, the PS4 version suffers from a clunky character control in which the player has to move the character around with the left analog stick. This wouldn’t be a huge issue if it didn’t impede a few puzzles that are based on getting to the next area quickly. In fact, a specific fireplace puzzle in the beginning of the game had me pulling my hair out as I just couldn’t get my character to the necessary place quick enough. I thought I was missing something but it turned out I wasn’t, the exact same puzzle works flawlessly on the PC but just doesn’t function well on the PS4 at all. These types of issues are signs of a poor port and that’s what the PS4 version feels like, a game that was thrown on the PS4 without a lot of testing.
Puzzles in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 are never incredibly difficult but some late-game tasks offer a decent head scratch. For me, that type of just-hard-enough puzzle is why I enjoy the series as a whole. I never find myself staring at a still screen for hours wondering what to do or if I’m missing something I just can’t see. That being said, the PC version makes these puzzles doable and easy to solve while the PS4’s control scheme just don’t play to the game’s strengths at all. Instead, the PS4 control scheme makes the game slow and awkward to play while ruining what otherwise is a fantastic game.
The beautiful vistas and interesting locations do a lot to pick the game up despite its controls and strange referential humor. The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is at its best when the jokes are original, the graphics can shine and the puzzles are intricate and clever. All of those pieces come together beautifully in the PC version but the PS4 just can’t hang.
Fans of the original game will be happy to continue the adventures of Wilbur, Nate, Ivo and Critter as they jump into a new adventure. True to the game’s history, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 opens up a whole new adventure that brings the loveable cast together for another romp. The cast of characters is as enjoyable as ever, with a lot of great dialogue between them all but an odd choice in jokes and a control problem cause some real issues upfront. It’s a shame because the story and characters are so well done that missing out on all of that due to control issues isn’t fair to the game itself. For those looking for a true-to-form point and click adventure game I would have to strongly suggest The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 for the PC only. The PS4 version just isn’t up to the challenge and doesn’t deserve to be played as the PC version is clearly better in every way.