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Moby ID: 115197

Official Description

Alfred Walsh is the new librarian, but on his first day he will accidentally unleash a dreaded curse upon the shelves within. He must fix things fast - but how will his tale end? With the help of Merlin and some other familiar faces, Alfred must solve puzzles in the strangest of places if he is to succeed and stop the curse of Oblivion!

Suitable for kids & adults alike, Ape Marina present a point & click adventure game full of old-school goodness and whimsical charm, fun characters and gratifying puzzles. The enchanting story will see you journey within well known Tales as you seek the help of great heroes (and lesser ones) in order to save the library and fate of mankind's beloved Tales!

You take control of Alfred - with simple point & click gameplay, many locations to explore and characters to meet, full English voice acting and over 50 minutes of original music by Luigi Di Guida, adventure veterans will feel right at home and new players can always seek advice from Merlin during their quest!

  • Original soundtrack (OST) comes included in Library > Music
  • Quicksave & Autosave for a more streamlined point & click experience
  • Russian, French, Italian, German and Spanish text translations

So what are you waiting for? It's time to get stuck into those Tales and help Alfred defeat Oblivion! It's the only way to guarantee your own tale has a happy ending! Steam achievements and trading cards are also included for those that seek a little extra challenge...

Source: Steam Store Description

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Credits (Windows version)

48 People · View all

Written by
Additional Story & Texting Editing by
Graphics by
Programming by
Music by
Lead Testing by
Made using Adventure Game Studio by
Voice Casting by
Voice Editing by
Alfred Walsh
[ full credits ]



Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 1 ratings)

Homage to Literature

The Good
"Tales" is a serious adventure game. It still does keep a certain "lightness" and conventionality of adventure stories, but it deals with very serious topics of love, loss and the sense of keeping a memory of our joys and sufferings when, ultimately, people who have participated in any events will at some point long be gone... The game is able to keep a balance between the gravity of this topic - which, even when approached in a way which shows hope, has a large potential for despair - and keeping the game's mood more optimistic, at times even funny. It seems particularly striking when compared with the previous game by Ape Marina, "Donald Dowell and the Ghost of Barker Manor". Which is, by itself, a fun game, but it's just very different. "Donald Dowell" has a lot of rather silly, at times even questionable humour - in comparison "Tales" seems, first of all, a much more mature game.
The game has mostly unobtrusive, but beautiful, at times haunting music. However, the most beautiful aspect is probably the graphical. Again, in contrast to "Donald Dowell" (with a "dirty" cartoonish style and a higher resolution), this time a very retro style was chosen - classic hand-painted graphics, reminding of classic adventure games from the early 90s. The first sceneries - the library, Merlin's house, the ancient city of Uruk - already set the mood for the game. I was immediately enchanted, however I must admit that this is exactly the kind of graphics I enjoy most. I'm just grateful that there are still people who find them beautiful - both other players and developers who choose this style for their games, as in this case.
An interesting gameplay solution has been implemented: an internal hint system. Alfred needs to revisit Merlin at times to know what book he needs to find next. However, we can also go back at (almost) any point (with the exception of a few scenes where Alfred has his magic bell taken away from him) and ask Merlin for hints.
Given its general topic, "Tales" could be considered an homage to Literature, writing, to the titular tales... Quality literature is considered high art, and for a reason: not reading really impoverishes us. It has been proven that children whose parents read books and have them at home do better at school. In contrast to that, video games are typically valued much lower, often even considered to be only "entertainment" and not "True Art". Many games have already proven that the stereotype of games being silly and stupefying is hugely unjust. In this case, a game directly pays homage to the origins of humankind's stories, to Literature as such. The title has its purpose: it could indeed be said that the titular tales, literature, the meaning of having a cultural heritage is the topic of this game.

The Bad
Still, at some point I have developed an impression of the game - in a way - collapsing under its own weight. No, don't get me wrong: I really feel bad about criticising such an amazing game. It simply makes me feel greedy, thankless. I would feel much less sorry simply nitpicking on small details I didn't like too much, such as some intimidating characters having a voice which sounds too warm and harmless. Still, I can't shake this impression off, although I can - and will - question it.
To some extent, it reminds me of the case of the somewhat obscure German game "Die Höhlenwelt-Saga - Der leuchtende Kristall". When playing it, I developed a strong impression that the game was originally planned as much longer, but authors decided at some point that it's just not feasible and - somewhat hastily - cut off some subplots (and possibly "rooms"), converting it instead into the first part of a planned series. Unfortunately, the sequel was never made... I felt something similar when playing "Tales". The game promises a lot, particularly one part: the library catalogue. Even if it feels not too credible from the start - "Wait, we're going to visit all these books??" - it still shows that there are much more books to potentially visit than we actually get to visit in the game. The areas visited - this is particularly similar to the case of the abovementioned German game - are also rather small in each case ("Around the World in Eighty Days" only consists of a single screen). And at some point, closer to the end of the game, they seem to become more austere, without these lots of lush colours and details. The giant's house in "Jack and the Beanstalk" is rather boring and uninventive, the Underworld is a very empty place... I agree that a place like this should look rather desolate, but I still think that these areas could have been made more interesting. As if the developers were running low on funds and wanted to finish the game as soon as possible, at the price of visual quality in - more or less - the final one third.
No, really - I do feel ungrateful for complaining about it. Realistically speaking, it might have been the lesser evil. Games very long in development may lose some fans who get tired of the waiting, also if the game had been polished more, it would surely have had some influence on its price - and as it is now, it's really inexpensive...
As for the "unfulfilled promise" of potentially visiting more books, one should consider how arduous it is to travel from one book to another - and, during the "transportation switch" in the library, often also from the lower level to the mezzanine or the other way around... At some point, quite early in the game, we get an important item from Merlin: a magic bag which allows transporting items from one book to another. An item "packed" in one book and "unpacked" in another will become a part of Alfred's inventory in the latter. However, it creates lots of possible combinations if a player gets stuck. Adding more books to be visited would only exacerbate this problem. Very long plots work better if the game has some points of no return (preferably also with "dead end protection" ;)) - in such a situation we simply can't revisit some places and the number of potential item-place combinations becomes much smaller.

The Bottom Line
"Tales" is a beautiful game which deserves being known more. It could even be said that it has potential for a sequel, although the sequel might have not been as serious as the original game. Unfortunately, I don't know of any plans for a sequel. As it is, the game can be wholeheartedly recommended to anyone who enjoys playing adventure games, but first of all to:
- fans of adventure games from the period considered most classic - "Tales" is clearly inspired by games from the early 90s, first of all in its visual style, but also in other aspects.
- lovers of Literature who don't feel contempt for the "base art" of video gaming and are curious to see how traditional literary motifs are reused in a game.
- and maybe also for people who do feel a bit of disregard for games, who consider them silly - this game could change their mind, show them that sometimes such an opinion is far from being accurate.

Windows · by Nowhere Girl (8679) · 2020

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Game added by Sciere.

Game added October 25th, 2018. Last modified February 13th, 2023.