Friday, July 19, 2024

Storyteller Review — A delightfully queer puzzler that ends far too soon

We all have different things that pull us into a game. It could be how the game looks, the fun and beautifully designed cast of characters, the thrilling gameplay… For me, it’s the story. Nothing gets me more invested in a game than sitting down and wondering how each narrative beat is laid out, and how it’s done so in a video game in comparison to film and TV.

Storyteller, a puzzle game from publisher Annapurna Interactive and developer Daniel Benmergui, is all about seeing the building blocks that make up stories and giving you the opportunity (to a certain extent) to create your own. The result is one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played this year, a testament to why stories are so powerful.

The purpose of Storyteller is to see the title card they’ve been given — for example, ‘Story of a Murder’ — and make it fit with the tools you’ve been given. These tools can be backdrops (helpfully titled) or characters. Each character comes with their own name or title, and backdrops depict what sort of tone/setting the story wants you to mess with, such as a graveyard to represent death or a chapel for weddings. You can be as creative as you want within the limitations set, which makes your choices feel more meaningful.

Yet even with its boundaries, Storyteller granted me the opportunity to tell a story that resonates with me, my experiences, and my preferences. That’s right, if the title card gives me ‘Two Marriages and a Divorce’ then you’re damn right I’m going to make it as gay as humanly possible. Even with its medieval-esque format and aesthetic, Storyteller isn’t interested in holding your imagination and experiences hostage. It wants you to go wild, and that’s what makes it so freeing and fun.

There are 10+ different chapters for you to work through, which feels like a lot when each chapter has three to four segments, but I found that, in my delight at mixing and matching and solving each and every puzzle, it only took me an hour or two to complete. While some may be looking for a longer game, I can only advise you to take a chance with Storyteller, because its length certainly doesn’t take away from an enjoyable experience – even if I wished – in the greediest way imaginable – that I could have more.

My only complaint is that the Nintendo Switch may not be the platform I’d go for again. At times picking and choosing which character and backdrop went where became far too finicky, and was a terrible hassle. Moving blocks was also difficult, and it isn’t clear at all how select segments or chapters on the Switch either. Having previewed the game originally on PC, I can still safely say that if you want a simpler experience, then that’s the platform to go for.

Score: 4/5

A copy of Storyteller for Nintendo Switch was provided to Gayming Magazine by the publisher.

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