Developer – Daniel Benmergui
Publisher – Annapurna Interactive
Platform(s) – Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC
Release Date – March 23, 2023
These types of games will dwell entirely on what you find intriguing in the games you play. Some prefer the fun action that a game like DOOM will provide or the compelling narrative that a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 will provide. Storyteller is a unique puzzle game and is similar to a game such as Undertale in that it was made primarily by one person.
These days I play about 90% of the games that Annapurna has released since 2020. I’ll admit that Storyteller wasn’t on my top list of games to play in the first few months of 2023. I heard of the game and saw a trailer here and there but I never kept up with it all too much. The opportunity to play the game came up recently and that leads us to the review you’re reading now.
Storyteller as a game isn’t hard to wrap your head around. There are 13 total chapters and each chapter has 4 separate stories with similar elements but different ways to solve them. It’s hard to bring much uniqueness to puzzle games these days because a lot of it has already been done. I can’t say I’ve seen many games that play like Storyteller does, so it has that going for it.
In each story, you’re presented with a title such as “Rejected by Own Spouse” or “Edgar kills Lenora”. You’re then given a select amount of scene scenarios and characters and with those, you have to create a story that matches its respective title. For example, if Edgar has to kill Lenora, there will be a scenario that features a cliff. You can add Edgar and Lenora to a certain position in the scene where Edgar will push her off a cliff, which matches the title of Edgar killing Lenora.
There are a whole lot of scenarios that you can choose from involving poison, weddings, guns, curses, and even the afterlife. The variety is definitely there and I think you’ll be hard-pressed to not come across a few puzzles that will give you some trouble.
Now, I say that Storyteller is not a long game in the slightest, I was done with the game in about 2 hours. This isn’t necessarily a deal breaker but I feel it’s important to note. A positive from its relatively short playtime is that it doesn’t overstay its welcome. There are plenty of games that I love that I feel overstay their welcome by a few hours, It Takes Two is an example that immediately comes to mind. I feel Storyteller is the right amount of time from start to finish.
Visual storytelling is something that was a hot topic after the release of Elden Ring in 2022. It can sometimes be a lost art in about half of AAA games that release these days and I’m glad this game showcases it well. Storyteller’s entire premise is centered around visual storytelling, it’s literally in the name of the game. Music is also nicely varied and each chapter has a soundtrack that directly fits its theme.
I think one area I can criticize Storyteller in is how hard the difficulty spikes towards the end of the game. I think these types of games should start ramping up the difficulty at a steady pace. In my case, I felt Storyteller was fairly easy for about 85% of the game and shot up substantially in difficulty towards the end. At the end of the day, it’s just a minor nitpick I had. Trust me, I have no problem with harder games considering how much I enjoyed games such as Returnal at launch.
I mentioned earlier that you have to have a certain type of taste to find games like this appealing. If you saw trailers for Storyteller and didn’t think it was for you, then I can almost guarantee this is not a game that you’re likely to enjoy. For me, it was a fun, relaxing, and quick game to sink a few hours into. Not one of my most favorite games that Annapurna has published in the past few years, but I did enjoy my time and appreciate smaller niche games like this one that devs choose to make. Storyteller gets a thumbs up in my book!
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