The Nintendo Switch has seen lots of ports of old games being added to its digital eShop as of late, with the latest being The Book of Unwritten Tales II – a point and click adventure game that was originally released back in 2015 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
The Book of Unwritten Tales II is a direct followup to the first game, but you don’t need to be familiar with the story of The Book of Unwritten Tales in order to understand what’s happening, as the characters do a good job of bringing players up to speed. You play as four different characters that inhabit a fantasy world that parodies some of the most iconic fantasy franchises of all time, with everything from Final Fantasy, Game of Thrones, and Harry Potter being lampooned over the course of the story.
The gameplay of The Book of Unwritten Tales II comes from the old point & click adventure genre, which comes with it all of the baggage that you might expect. The game involves finding items and talking to NPCs in order to solve puzzles, some of which can be difficult to work out on their own due to the fantasy setting of the game, and you may find yourself trying every item on an obstacle in the hope of success when you get stuck.
The Book of Unwritten Tales II is a comedy game that uses the Family Guy style of referential humor for its laughs. It’s hard to give a solid recommendation for the game on this aspect of its writing, as comedy is subjective. The fairy tale and fantasy genres have been parodied heavily for years, with the Shrek movies and Disenchantment series being just some examples of properties that have made all of the jokes about fantasy cliches and tropes. The Book of Unwritten Tales II doesn’t have a fresh enough take to sell itself on its writing alone, as some of the jokes are so old that they appeared in 1993's Simon the Sorcerer.
If you do find the comedic writing of The Book of Unwritten Tales II endearing, then you will find a massive adventure to enjoy. The point & click games of old were relatively short if you possessed a walkthrough, but there are around twenty hours of gameplay in The Book of Unwritten Tales II, depending on how often you rely on GameFAQs.
The other positive aspects of The Book of Unwritten Tales II are the graphics and sound. The cartoonish graphics might initially seem dated compared to a lot of modern titles, but they fit the tone of the game perfectly and they add a certain charm to the characters and the world. The music in the game is also stellar and evokes the soundtracks from popular fantasy movies, while the voice acting is generally top notch, bar a few overly annoying character voices.
The most frustrating aspect of The Book of Unwritten Tales II is the controls, as they are akin to the tank controls of the early Resident Evil games, making it a struggle to maneuver characters around obstacles. There's also an issue of interacting with the world as a lot of characters, doorways, and items are placed close together and it can be easy to accidentally select the wrong thing. The characters you control will also need to move into place when interacting with items, which is more of a minor annoyance but it happens so often that it bears mentioning. You can press the X button to show all available interactable items, which is something you should do all of the time.
The most disappointing aspect of the Nintendo Switch port of The Book of Unwritten Tales II is the lack of any additional control schemes that the Switch could provide. The touch screen inexplicably cannot be used when the game is in handheld more, nor can the Joy-Con be used as a mouse pointer when the Switch is docked. The addition of more control schemes might have helped to alleviate some of the issues with the game, but this is a direct port without any additional content or features.
The Book of Unwritten Tales II feels like a game from another time and place, with some dated humor and needlessly frustrating gameplay moments, but there is an endearing charm to the story and some smart (if occasionally illogical) puzzles to solve. If you are hungry for a return to the days of games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Simon the Sorcerer, then you can’t go wrong with The Book of Unwritten Tales II.
The Book of Unwritten Tales II is available to purchase for the Nintendo Switch right now. Screen Rant was provided a digital code for the purposes of this review.