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The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles Review



Pirates, point and click adventure, a buffoon of a main character, comedic happenings, elaborate contraptions and strange monsters; you would be forgiven if you think I am talking about the many adventures of Guybrush Threepwood in Monkey Island as this game has more than a few nods towards the obvious; but this prequel to a German classic also offers plenty of its own ideas, with floating pirate ships, Orcs and an even stranger sense of humour.

As a prequel to The Book of Unwritten Tales, The Critter Chronicles takes us back to the early days of Nate, one of the characters from the original game, now calling himself a Captain, fresh from 'winning' The Mary, a retro fitted pirate ship, equipped with huge balloons making it capable of flying and loaded with booty and a rather stroppy figurehead who is frustrated that she no longer feels the waves beneath her and is now captained by the useless Nate. Turning his back on the eternal battle that has ravaged the lands, Nate decides to venture away and discover the world, though this is brought short by the arrival of the Orc bounty hunter Ma'Zaz who is looking to bring the ship, Nate and the three chests of gold stashed on the airship back to its rightful owner.

The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles book is a classic point and click adventure game, using the mouse cursor to highlight items and examine and if they are usable, either interacting or collecting for later use in solving puzzles or changing to a speech bubble whenever you fancy a chat with the many strange characters you will come across. You know what sort of puzzles will be involved when you start the game with a party noise maker, a trumpet and confetti being the first items you come across whilst trying to figure out how to use a cannon to attack the ever present Ma'Zaz. You have two game modes on offer, normal and hard, with normal giving you plenty of advice from pressing the space bar to bring up all of the interactive items on the screen to dropping hints on what is required to proceed in the story whilst still managing to offer a decent challenge, especial for those that are not used to the crazy combinations expected to solve puzzles. Hard on the other hand removes all the help and also ups the challenge on the puzzles you come across, with very different approaches required to complete the otherwise same tasks.



A rather different approach to the point and click genre is that after the first few main puzzles Nate finds himself stranded on a land covered in snow and ice, meeting a strange purple furred alien called Critter for the first time. Due to the predicament Nate finds himself in the gameplay hands over to Critter, with you meeting the rest of his strange race and then learning that they are currently also stranded and under threat from a very powerful sorcerer that wants them to create an ultimate weapon. With Nate and Critter then teaming up to help each other the following chapters will then allow you to freely switch between the two characters with a simple click on the relevant icon in the top left of the screen, which becomes vital to solve some of the later puzzles

The presentation of The Critter Chronicles is of a very high standard, with some well-drawn characters and funny graphics and a group of decent voice actors offering their comedic talents. Even with Critter who can't speak English, you gradually begin to pick up some of his language thanks to the way he is animated, all adding to the overall experience full of great jokes and plenty of pop culture references.

The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles is a point and click adventure in every aspect, it knows its market and has pretty much nailed it in terms of what players can expect, though it is here that it makes the same mistakes many of these game make like having to continually interact with something over and over again to earn a vital item to the often confusing and overcomplicated solutions to the puzzles. This is made even harder as there are two characters to play as and at times what one character can do, the other cannot, from talking to another character to picking up an item. Taking these familiar negative points into consideration The Critter Chronicles is still a puzzling and funny game from start to finish.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PC)

Pros

- Easy to use controls.
- Two difficulties offering different experiences.
- Great voice cast.
- Classic point and click adventure.

Cons

- The rather obscure and confusing nature in the way puzzles are created.


Edited On 17 Dec, 2012

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