Title: Stories Untold
Developer: No code
Publisher: Developer Digital
Genre: Adventure, puzzle, horror
Official Site: https://storiesuntoldgame.com/
Release Date: Out Now
Where to Buy: Eshop, Steam
Stories Untold is a challenging game to review for several reasons, mainly as it is a short game that is very story focused. I want to give you as much information as possible but don’t want to ruin the experience.
The game is split into four chapters, each offering their own type of gameplay and story that, when added together, creates the overall narrative. Everything is presented in a brilliantly nostalgic ‘80s style that we’re all so familiar with right now thanks to a renewed love of the decade.
I’ve decided to split the review into four parts and hope that my overall narrative makes sense. If I miss things or cover too much in one section, I apologize. Each chapter does have its pros and cons, which you’ll see.
Part 1: Resident Evil
After an opening cinematic that feels and sounds very much like Stranger Things, the game begins with an ode to text-based adventure games of yore. Just as you’d expect from the ‘80’s there’s a small TV on a table to the left of the screen and a ZX Spectrum on the right.
The first story in Stories Untold is of a man returning home, and we get to live it through the text-based adventure displayed on the TV screen.
Commands such as “look around” or “open” can be input in order to move the story along. Obviously, I can’t get into the story, but things do begin to get weird.
I was playing with headphones, and despite the fact I was reading the small text, I found myself getting completely engrossed and even jumped thanks to the sound effects a few times.
I’ll say it now, chapter 1 was my favorite part of Stories Untold, and I would love to have seen more of it. I would be pleased if some fully-fledged text adventure games were released on different platforms.
The issue I had here was all the text was presented on the TV, which is a small portion of the Switch’s screen. You can zoom in slightly, but I would have liked to have had it on the whole screen. I would also have liked the option to skip text.
Minor criticisms of a great part of the game.
Part 2: Experimental Theatre
Chapter 2 changes up the gameplay entirely. Here you conduct experiments on a mystery object switching between a computer terminal and various pieces of equipment that help you to run the experiments.
The terminal will explain what needs to be done and how to do it. For example, you may need to X-Ray something. This would involve setting certain pieces of equipment to specific settings while making sure any unneeded items are switched off.
This process repeats for several different experiments. It was somewhat fun even if it wasn’t complicated to get through, it just felt like a lot of messing around just for the sake of it.
Once again, though, the story is vital. All the promotional material for Stories Untold explains that each chapter fits together, and at this point, I really couldn’t see how. I was enjoying what was being drip-fed to me, especially as things were getting weirder and weirder.
I was just waiting for my phone to ring and a voice to say “seven days.”
Chapter 2 was my least favorite part of the game, I did have some fun, but I mainly wanted to find out what was going on.
Part 3: Cold as Ice
The penultimate section of Stories Untold is set in a small cabin in an arctic (or maybe the other one) base where the gameplay changes once again.
Here players must switch between radio, computer terminal, and an old microfiche document. The radio needs to be tuned to a specific frequency that leads to a code. The code must then be deciphered in the document, and the answers then input into the terminal.
I found this section to be great fun and exceedingly frustrating in equal measure. The codes were mostly straightforward and fun to look at. There were a couple that made me grab a pen and paper so as not to forget them. They weren’t that difficult, but I did have to write them down. I loved it.
What I didn’t like was the part with morse code as I struggled to distinguish between a dot and a dash. The sounds sounded somewhat similar to me, and I found it annoying. What was more irritating to the point of making me angry was tuning in the radio.
It shouldn’t have been a big deal to find the frequencies needed. It was. At least for me. Everything was so sensitive, which made it too easy to zip past the required number, only to go the other way and do the same thing, etc., etc., repeat until the next story untold is how I broke my Switch.
I also had a glitch that meant my exactly correct answer did not work. Annoying.
Once again, the story chugs along nicely. It was here that I managed to work out how everything clicked into place. I didn’t work out every last detail, but I got enough, and that made me happy.
Part 4: I love it when a plan comes together
The finale to Stories Untold is an amalgamation of each of the other chapters as there are gameplay elements from them all.
The primary purpose here is to show how everything fits together as the story becomes one and……….
I can’t go into too much here for fear of spoilers. I will say that I enjoyed it, and the story made the whole game worthwhile.
Verdict: Overall, I did really like Stories Untold, mainly for the story it tells. There were issues, but nothing that spoiled the overall experience. I would like to see more, especially of the text adventure side. If the problems and shortness don’t put you off, then you should grab this game. If not, wait for the sales or accumulation of enough gold points.
- Great Story
- Fantastic Sound
- Some fun gameplay
- Too short
- Some annoying sections
- Did I mention it's too short?