The most recent instalment in the series, The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is a whimsical point and click adventure title developed by King Art Games. Though the release is centred around the typical core mechanics of the genre – that is to say, you'll be interacting with the environment, objects, and characters in order to overcome various obstacles and tasks – its iteration on the PlayStation 4 sees you take advantage of a somewhat alternative control scheme.
In lieu of simply, well, pointing and clicking on items of interest, you'll be expected to either walk up to them yourself using the left analogue stick, or give the square button a quick push in order to display all of the available prompts on-screen. Multiple choices can then be cycled through with the right analogue stick, before they're looked at or physically manipulated by you in some manner. While the system isn't exactly slow or awkward, it goes without saying that fans of the genre – ourselves included – would have probably preferred a more traditional take on things.
Furthermore, the methods by which you can expect to save your game have seen a dramatic overhaul from the title's PC equivalent – your progress is now recorded almost entirely via autosaves instead. This isn't a huge issue, of course, but those looking to create multiple entries or rely upon themselves alone to jot down their data will be forced to reluctantly comply to it.
With that aside, it goes without saying that any good point and click game should have more than a few mind-tingling puzzles to show for itself, and the latest entry in the saga is no exception to this. There's not only a surprising amount of content on offer here, but the many brain teasers that come with it are of a wholly respectable standard.
It should be mentioned, however, that a good majority of these aren't quite as difficult or misleading as those provided by its competitors, and can often fall back on relatively straightforward solutions. Some challenges are overcome by merely exploring the right dialogue options, which can certainly come across as a tad lazy as far as gameplay design is concerned.
Having said that, the dialogue itself is admirably written, and voice acted brilliantly – even if the cast's lip-syncing falls flat at times. The overall tone of the writing is charmingly light-hearted, though it's rare that you'll be given any truly laugh-out-loud moments because of this.
What's more, the title seems to pride itself on parodying numerous clichés and tropes of Western fantasy, yet due to its rather safe attitude towards comedy, can frequently end up losing its intended impact and falling into mediocrity – presenting neither a particularly comedic nor immersive experience. This is made more offensive by the notion that you'll be sitting through a huge amount of speech between the various personalities of the game, and although this can mostly be skipped with a press of the X button, it doesn't excuse the fact that a good, humourless chunk of it could've easily been discarded or condensed into something more consumable.
On the topic of the wacky characters that you'll encounter during your travels, it's worth noting that all of them tend to be likeable, lively, and curious in their nature, which makes interacting with them at least that little bit more enjoyable. In addition to this, you'll actually be switching between a handful of different protagonists in your adventures, and these fresh perspectives keep the narrative diverse and compelling.
The world featured in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2 is brought to life further by the colourful ways in which its inhabitants are animated, and it's rare that the game ever oversteps its boundaries in this regard, becoming too dainty or cute. Moreover, the lands that you'll visit on your quest are remarkably pretty and atmospheric in their own right, as is the general aesthetic of the title, overlooking a few generic details. This is all complemented beautifully by the sweeping score that accompanies the release throughout, as well as the eccentric sound design that inserts even more personality into the product.
Those looking for a solid point and click title will find it in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2's reasonably large campaign, though its somewhat basic puzzle design is a shame. Dialogue between characters can often feel a tad overzealous considering the game's light-hearted approach to comedy, making it hard to recommend to anyone unable to stomach an inoffensive, self-aware fantasy romp of this fashion.