Storyteller is a puzzle game created by Daniel Benmergui, an Argentinian game developer who is probably best known for creating the adorable art game I Wish I Were The Moon.
In Storyteller, the player is given a magical book that they need to fill with insightful tales. Every level is an individual story that the player needs to bring to life. Each story provides the player with an objective that needs to be accomplished by utilising a series of different characters and scenes. For example, players may need to catch a murderous butler red-handed or foil the schemes of an evil baron hoping to seize the crown. By putting the right characters, in the right scenes and arranging them in the right order, players can achieve these objectives.
All The Game's a Stage
Like all of the best puzzle games, there are often multiple ways to complete each of Storyteller’s levels. The game’s puzzles can be assembled, disassembled, and then reassembled in a variety of interesting ways. The game’s achievements system incentivizes creative thinking and rewards players for finding unorthodox solutions to puzzles, or else just rewards them for doing wacky and weird things.
It’s amazing how much personality Storyteller provides for each of its characters, whilst employing absolutely no dialogue. When most characters are paired up in a wedding scene, they get little hearts over their head as they look at their partner. The power-hungry baron instead has a little heart with a crown, showing that the only thing he is truly capable of loving is power. Different characters react to romantic rejection in different ways, ranging from murderous anger to melancholy brooding. The murderous butler is even made a slightly tragic figure as it’s clear that the lord and lady of the house don’t appreciate his work and take him completely for granted.
Storyteller is also refreshingly inclusive. Love stories can feature couples of any gender. Storyteller doesn’t arbitrarily force players to make heterosexual pairings, and you can tell tales featuring crisscrossing pansexual love triangles that would make Achilles and Sapho proud.
Just like the fairy tales they are based on, the stories in this game can grapple with some surprisingly dark themes. Beneath Storyteller’s cute picture book graphics lurks a world of infidelity, scheming, and bloodthirsty garden gnomes.
Is Brevity the Soul of Wit?
Storyteller is not without fault, however. Its most significant flaw is that it ends far too soon. All 51 of the game’s levels can easily be completed in under two hours, with players looking to get 100% of the game’s achievements only needing an extra hour or so until they have seen everything this game has to offer. This short length is somewhat balanced out, however, by the game’s reasonably low price tag.
Storyteller also has a handful of other small issues. Navigating the game’s menus can be highly cumbersome; there is no central menu screen enabling players to access all of the levels in a single convenient place (instead, it is necessary to keep flipping through the different pages of the book to find each of the game’s levels). This problem is compounded by the fact that every level has a rather vague title, so what you’re looking for also isn’t always immediately clear.
Achievement Hunters may also find getting 100% completion to be a frustrating exercise. Many of the game’s achievements only provide a single line of text and an image to indicate what the player needs to do. In particular, the achievement “drinking martini” involves scouring the entire game to find the handful of levels where Martinis appear. Once this has been done, figuring out precisely how to motivate a character to drink one is far more frustrating than it probably should be.
All's Well That Ends Well
Although Storyteller is far too brief, its other faults are easy to ignore.
Even though it’s a very short game, Storyteller is still absolutely worth a play. If you’ve got a bit of cash to spare, and you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend an evening, this game offers a unique and thought-provoking experience.
Storyteller takes players on a creative and imaginative journey. Unfortunately, the happily ever after of this fairy tale might arrive just a bit too quickly.
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