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The story starts from here
Observation was the previous title that I played from the developer No Code. I liked Observation and gave it 5/5. It was no surprise I wanted to review their 2017 game Stories Untold, that game only for PC at the time. I don’t own PC, so all those games are always out of my reach. Thankfully they decided to bring Stories Untold to Nintendo Switch!!
The game is a collection of four short story-based games with solving lots of puzzles. By watching the release trailer, I noticed the whole gameplay being very out-of-the-box and mixing different genres together. I always love everything original and new, but does the story hold up all the way to the end?
What’s the genre, anyway?
After playing two first chapters, it becomes evident the story isn’t linear and not clear about the details and happenings. It’s good when games and movies leave some space for the audience to think and not telling everything too clearly. The story was scary, cryptic and all the chapters happening on different order (time-wise). It was just a blast to play this through in one sitting and connect all the dots in the final chapter.
I don’t wanna tell much about the story, because there’s so much of reveals and turns that it could easily spoil a reader. Shortly; Stories Untold happens in 1986 and follows a story of a young man who has a traumatic past. It’s almost as of Twilight Zone -type of sequences of odd happenings with the cool 80’s visual style and music from horror movies from the same era. Yes, it can be imitating and for a long time I felt scared while playing home alone in middle of the night.
The gameplay felt awkward in the first chapter and I just prayed it wouldn’t stay that way. First chapter is basically only text-based and after that the gameplay got new styles and variations that kept everything fresh. The beginning of every chapter and seeing all the puzzles around me, I was baffled that could I ever solve them, but I did. I did solve every puzzle without any help. To be honest, towards the end the puzzles gets tricky and if a player isn’t puzzle solver, then these puzzles might be too much. I’m not saying that this is only for smart people, but even though the story and and overall style might interest many players, they also have to be ready to think.
What I loved with the puzzles was the variation and the imaginative way the developer has made them. Towards the end I had to do puzzles that solving one thing opened the way to solve the another part, and so on, until I got the final answer and solution. It truly felt rewarding.
I’m still not sure what’s the initial genre of this title, but stealing someone elses’ sentences from online: “narrative-driven experimental adventure game”, “bends the genre into something completely unique”, “mix of classic text-adventure, point-and-click and more”, “interactive visual storytelling”.
Yeah, those pretty much covers the genre, which I believe, deserves its own name totally.
The end of stories
For all those puzzle lovers who didn’t play this back in 2017, should try this now. I cannot say much about the differences with the original PC release, since I never saw/played it, but at least this was absolutely solid performance on Switch. The art style and synth-wave music from the 80’s gave me so many vibes of Stranger Things mixed with Halloween movies.
I had hard to find anything negative to say. The only thing was probably the first chapter and how difficult to operate the 80’s computer terminal felt. Stories Untold wanted to stay true to the nostalgia and mix different genres together to create something new. And, by the way, the plot did held all the way from start to the end. Should you puzzle lover pick this up? Absolutely yes.
(Review copy kindly provided by the publisher)
“What I loved with the puzzles was the variation and the imaginative way the developer has made them”