The Book of Unwritten Tales

aka: BoUT
Moby ID: 40538
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$19.99 new on Steam

Description official descriptions

The war between the Shadow Army and the Alliance of the Free Races has been raging for ages in Aventásia. No side has been able to get the upper hand. This is about to change when a goblin archaeologist named Mortimer MacGuffin discovers a clue to a legendary artifact which could decide the fate of the world. Sadly, things go wrong from there. The forces of evil captured and tortured his delivery boy who was on his way to the arch-mage to tell him the good news. Now they are after MacGuffin. Luckily the female elf Ivo is nearby and manages to free him - at least long enough to give Wilbur, a young gnome, the One Ring in order to bring it to the arch-mage. Soon Nathaniel Bonnet and his mysterious companion join the party and it's up to the the four adventurers to save Aventásia.

The Book of Unwritten Tales is a classic point & click adventure with a big focus on humor and obscure references. From the obvious "One Ring" over a scarecrow looking like Indiana Jones to more subtle hints hidden in the various locations and the many multiple-choice dialogues, the game takes every chance to make fun of famous pop-culture elements and often even breaks the fourth wall by doing so. By controlling one of the four characters and switching between them either when the story dictates it or later in the game at any time, the player collects everything that isn't nailed to a wall - and sometimes even that - and talks to everyone he meets in order to solve the many riddles in the game and ultimately advance the storyline by doing so. The game even allows the solving of some riddles with different characters without forcing the player to use a specific one. While the outcome is, of course, always the same, the way to solving the riddle can be quite different.

To help the player progress, the game not only drops subtle hints on the next step during conversations but also shows all the hotspots in a location with the press of a button. In addition once a hotspot has been used up, meaning the character doesn't have any more comments on it or it has served its purpose, it becomes inactive. If the player selects an item from the inventory, the game only shows the one point where it has to be used. If the player hovers over any other hotspot, the game doesn't show any possibility of interaction. Also the player often has to interact or speak with a NPC multiple times before the next step is available to him.

Next to the game, the UK retail release contains:* Art book (36 pages)

  • Soundtrack disc
  • Double-sided poster

Spellings

  • Книга ненаписанных историй - Russian spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Windows version)

88 People (76 developers, 12 thanks) · View all

Creative Director
Executive Producer
Programmers
Additional Programmer
Character & Lowpoly Designer
Animator
Additional Animation
Rigging
  • 3dinchina
Lead Location Designer
Designer
Concept Artist
Cinematics
Scripters
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 84% (based on 54 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 1 reviews)

Fun for the whole family? Probably not, only most of them.

The Good
Where to start? Artwork, voice acting, music ... all excellent, probably in about that order too. Story ... actually it's easy to forget about this (I'll have to play the game again just to be reminded of it) as the many, many, many cultural references (Lord of the Rings, Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Narnia books, and on and on) and gaming jokes will have you laughing out loud to the point where you forget the plot (but it's a pretty good plot, as far as I can remember).

You can easily see the quality of the artwork from promotional materials and screen shots, so I won't dwell on those. Unlike another game (that I won't whisper about), the artwork includes high-quality characters, and not just the backdrops.

The voice acting (and it really IS acting too) is stellar, the weakest character is Nate (and in keeping with adventure game tropes, he really should sound just a bit cheesy, be grateful that he's doesn't have a leather jacket and blue jeans too) and he's not voiced very badly either so the rest of the characters must have been stellar. There's not a dud in the bunch although non-UK people may wonder about some of the accents (which brings up one of the very few things to complain about with this game, as the subtitles do not always match the spoken dialogue, and there are a few typos too).

The music ... well, from the very beginning, when the composer borrows from 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' I knew I was going to enjoy this game. Unlike many other games, the music really stands out. It doesn't call attention to itself either, no unnecessary flash, but it really gets the job done. And after you have finished the game you will go looking for it.

Puzzles / game play ... not so much. If you have any problems, it's time to go to bed, it may be three in the morning already. If something is in your inventory then you need it for something - or perhaps another character can use it. I keep hearing that Adventure Games are dead, but they only seem to get better. Here, instead of the usual single hero, you get to play as four (I need to locate a FAQ so I can find out more about Critter). In fact you HAVE to play as four, the puzzles (and this seems to be rare) need team play. A huge plus in any game, especially welcome in any game that may be of interest to a younger audience.

The Bad
This is a point-and-click, pure and simple. If you can't get beyond this, don't buy it. If you like gaming satire and in-jokes then it will have some giggles for you, but there is no getting past the fact that it is what it is. On the plus side, they have simplified it as much as possible, there are no cat-hair mustaches or rats to tape dynamite too. Only one quick time sequence, annoying but not too hard. No pixel-grubbing either, press the space bar and every hot spot shows up.

Some annoying graphics glitches, given the pedigree of this game there should not have been ANY. Very annoying when they happen ... although this may have been due to a non-standard resolution on my part. As far as I can tell, this game should play best at 1920 x 1200 resolution.

As mentioned, the dialogue and the subtitles do not always match.

The Bottom Line
It's fun for almost everyone, but it's not for the whole family. For younger players, there are some great visual gags and not much offensive (Nate has a few things to say that get bleeped out), plus a lot of words that will go right over their heads. For older players, there is a lot of humour and some wonderful music, plus a lot of visual gags they will miss. But they will probably get all of the cultural references and in-jokes (me, I had to look up a few, plus the playing card jokes zinged right by me).

It's not for teenagers ... there's no killing, they won't get the humour, they think they're too old for it. They may not leave the room if they see people playing it, they may come and have a look if there's laughter, but they won't play it by themselves for long. (You may need a teenager to explain the playing card jokes to you.)

I enjoyed it a bunch ... it's still on my hard drive too, even though it's 5 gigabytes and my hard drive is almost full. My only decision is when I replay it. There's lots of replay value too, I like to go through all of the dialogue choices but this game does not always give you that particular option, so if you want to hear all of the dialogue you will have to play it again. Which is a bug plus, I think, any excuse to play this masterpiece again ...

I waffled for a while about buying YET ANOTHER point-and-click, but it was money well-spent, I enjoyed it hugely and was even sorry when it ended, because I wanted more. There is apparently a sequel in the works if they are successful with this title ...

Windows · by thud (97) · 2012

Trivia

Rating systems

When The Book of Unwritten Tales was originally released in 2009 it had a PEGI rating of 3+. The first English release in the United Kingdom in 2011 changed the PEGI rating to 12 with a Bad Language indicator.

Awards

  • 4Players
    • 2009 – Best Adventure of the Year

Analytics

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 40538
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sicarius.

Linux, Macintosh added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, POMAH, Patrick Bregger, Zerobrain.

Game added May 18, 2009. Last modified March 15, 2024.