Storyteller Review – Hikaye Anlatıcısı İncelemesi
Most stories in video games tend to focus on either large adventures that span entire worlds, or smaller and more focused stories that can only take place in a single house. Then along comes a puzzle game with a storyteller who instead wants players to create the stories themselves. While it’s certainly a short experience, there’s a certain amount of joy to be found in Storyteller’s simple design.
Created by developer Daniel Benmergui (creator of I’m Dying Today And I Wish I Was The Moon) and consisting of 13 chapters with four puzzles in each, the storyteller tasks the player with creating a short story by placing various backgrounds and characters in their correct positions to create a story of emotions based on their set positions in the scene, such as a character to be rejected, committing a crime, showing how one can accidentally marry a parent figure, etc. The game offers users a character to be rejected, commit a crime, show how someone might accidentally marry a parental figure, etc. based on their designated position in the scene. Each puzzle has 3, 4, 6 or 8 squares where players can build the desired story, although some do not require using every square to successfully finish it. It almost feels like a storyboard come to life and the storyteller uses the concept well.
It’s always hard to judge the difficulty of puzzle games. Players come from all walks of life, with wildly varying experiences that help shape who they are and how they tackle problems. However, if someone were forced to describe how difficult the puzzles are, the storyteller would probably describe them as leaning towards the easy side rather than the hard side. But it’s hard to tell whether this is because the game is aimed at a younger player base or whether it’s deliberately made easier. Players looking for a heavy or brain-crushingly difficult challenge probably won’t find it here.
Most of the puzzles start with the answer and the user has to figure out how the scenes unfold to fulfill the prompt. For some, it will be easy to switch between working backwards and putting the story in the right order, while others may scratch their heads in confusion. However, any bewilderment is likely to be short-lived once you learn how to manipulate the character’s emotions by adjusting them and using simple trial and error to learn what influences their actions and moods. What happened in the previous frame will affect every frame that follows, and this can lead to some obvious answers even before deciding which background to use. Some puzzles use the same characters from previous chapters and backgrounds almost always generate the same results based on where the characters are placed, so once players learn these aspects the game becomes much easier.
In the more difficult puzzles, there are so many options that trying to brute force them by trying every different combination will take entirely too long. Therefore, the sooner a player learns the causes and consequences of certain placements, the easier time they will have. This is especially true for puzzles with multiple ending options, such as a situation where the attacker must die instead of a certain character being killed. Many of these extra endings actually require completely rewriting some scenes or moving characters around instead of replacing them. Unfortunately, there are very few of these, as they don’t appear in every episode. Having more of these in the quest to complete 100% of the game would have been more fun with more challenge.
Graphically, the various characters and backgrounds are pleasant to look at and complement the systems within. Character cutscenes are crisp, clean and clear. Character animations are uncluttered and their expressions are easy to read, so there’s no confusion about what they’re feeling. Background panels are nicely shaded but don’t offer an incredibly high level of detail. This helps with less distraction when placing characters, but some pages can be a little lifeless when viewed repeatedly. It can also feel like there’s a lot of space around story panels, which can sometimes make a player feel like they’re inside a book. Empty space is not necessarily bad in itself, but sometimes empty space can steal some of the focus.
Some gamers will certainly be bothered by how short the storyteller is, especially with the price tag. Whether it’s a product of gamers’ insatiability for more content or the expectations set by other games, many will expect the game to last longer than it does. Hopefully, developer Daniel Benmergui and publisher Annapurna Interactive plan to increase the number of puzzles available at some point in the future because right now it’s not that impossible to finish the game in a day or two.
The last sour aspect of the storyteller is his ending. It’s hard to delve into the issues players will have with it without getting into spoiler territory, but suffice to say it was disappointing. Perhaps this disappointment is a product of expectations set by other games, but there was a feeling while playing that it led to more than what actually happened. Some users will no doubt be annoyed by the result, while others will just shrug and move on. There also currently seems to be no reason to go back and play again other than to complete the various puzzles with different, optional answers.
One of the best feelings in puzzle games is the ‘Ah-ha!’ or “Ohhhh!” moment when a solution that seems obvious but remains consistently elusive is suddenly revealed. It tries very valiantly to maintain that feeling, but ultimately stumbles due to its short length, disappointing ending and low difficulty. Still, the game has enough charm that some will try to complete the stories the storyteller wants to tell