Growing up, one of my favorite movies of the 80s was Creepshow. It mixed horror with a touch of fiction and contained several stories that were sort of an anthology of stories in one package. During this time I also played text adventures like Zork and later fell in love with adventure games like Maniac Mansion. So when I read Stories for the Nintendo Switch and thought it was a combination of the two, all I had to do was try it. The end result is an example of a low-budget game that can still find ways to engage players in a creative story.
For $10, you get four small games with completely different stories. Everyone has their own strengths, and depending on the genres you’re interested in, you’re sure to have a favorite. For me, the first proposal, titled Leaving Home, is the best of them all. Each of the four games takes place mainly in a room equipped with a computer or other machines with which you can communicate. Here you sit at a desk and work with an old computer that uses tapes for memory. The television shows the game you are playing, which is a text-based adventure.
It immediately brought back memories of Zork, where everything in the game is conveyed through the exhibition. You can then bring up an interface that allows you to do things like search, open, move, etc. You can then select another word to complete the action. For example, you start the game in your car parked in front of your family’s holiday home. The game tells you that you should probably look in the glove box. So you will need to use the Open Glove Box command to enter the contents of the glove box. By today’s standards, such actions are quite primitive, but they work.
What makes all the games in this collection so special is the writing style, which is really well put together. Add background music and other special graphic effects to the environment and the games really come to life. The first game uses multi-part HD Rumble to really ramp up the tension, and I have to admit I jumped several times, which a textless adventure game has never managed to do for me.
So, in the first game, you explore your old vacation home, and not everything is as it seems. The second game is called Running the Lab and here you are in the lab where the experiments are done. Push buttons and dials to find out what’s in the box! The third adventure is called Process Station, and in this scenario you are at a control station in Greenland. You can’t communicate with the outside world because your microphone is broken, but you can hear the other two stations communicating with you and giving you instructions on what to do. And finally, the final session linking some of the stories together. The only thing they have in common is a sense of isolation and a kind of powerlessness in trying to bring the mysteries together.
The untold stories really drew me in because they moved quickly from one story to the next and the terrifying and mysterious plots kept me on the edge of my seat. Some puzzles required a bit of trial and error, but for the most part the game wasn’t too difficult to solve. I had fun with the game, but I’m probably also their immediate target audience: someone who really grew up playing games like this. It’s hard to say how much fun an inexperienced person would have with text-based adventures. I think if you love reading or if you, like others, choose your own adventure story, but also if you have a weakness for science fiction and horror, then you should give this book a chance. Most people will probably read each story in less than an hour, and there’s no real trade-off value, but I had a great time anyway!
Unpublished article reviews
- Charts – 5/10
- Sound – 5/10
- Gameplay – 7/10
- Late Complaint – 4.5/10
Final thoughts : GOOD PAGE
Stories Untold combines old school text adventures with a modern twist. It’s not for action fans – you’ll mostly be reading and solving small puzzles to progress. With four different stories and point-and-click interactions, adventure fans should consider getting this game.
Craig has been covering the video game industry since 1995. His work has been published in various media. He is currently an editor and contributor to Age of Games.
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