The Book of Unwritten Tales is a 2009 Point-and-Click Game developed by German studio King Art Games and published by HMH Interactive. It was localized for English audiences by The Adventure Company in 2011, after years of waiting. For the most part, it would have been your average Adventure Game, if it was not constantly referencing this very fact. Most of the game's humour originates from this and the weird logic applied in many games of the genre.
The story starts off in times of a big war with Gremlin archaeologist Mortimer MacGuffin (yes, the game starts there already) being attacked by the servants of the evil witch most often referred to as "Mother". She is after a mysterious artifact granting its owner the ability to make all his wishes come true. In order to stop her, over the course of the game, the player controls various characters to solve different puzzles.
The game leads through a big fantasy city filled with millions of magical creatures, a sunken temple, the wild lands occupied by horrible creatures and the heart of the evil kingdom itself.
- Wilbur Wetterquarz (Wilbur Weathervane) - Gnome and kitchen servant in a dwarf bastion far to the north.
- Ivodora Eleonora Clarissa, Princess of Silberwaldreich, or Ivo for short (Ivodora Eleonora Clarissa, Princess of the Silver Forest Realm, Ivo) - a female forest elf.
- Nathaniel "Nate" Bonnet - adventurer (sky pirate, trickster, thief...).
- Vieh (Critter) - some... creature, Nate's sidekick.
A prequel titled The Book of Unwritten Tales: The Critter Chronicles has been released in Germany in October 2011. As the title suggests, the main characters in this game are Critter and Captain Nate. The international version was released in Spring 2012.
This game provides examples of:
- Accidental Pervert: When trapped in complete darkness, Wilbur wonders why Ivo feels like two sacks full of fat. ("Those aren't my ribs!") If he keeps feeling around:Wilbur: That's Ivo.
Ivo: And there is absolutely no reason to grope her again.
- Anti-Frustration Features: If an object isn't important, you can't interact with it after checking it once or twice, meaning you won't have to wonder if it's used in solving a puzzle or not. Conversely, if you can keep interacting with something, it's going to be useful at some point. Likewise, items can't be used to interact with objects they won't work with and you're not even given the option of combining two items that can't be combined. You can also press space bar to highlight all clickable objects, although its usefulness is somewhat diminished by the game never telling you about the feature.
- Don't Fear the Reaper: This game's Reaper is a pretty amicable, soft-spoken guy. He's not even particularly mad about Wilbur tricking him into killing him, despite the potential trouble he could have gotten for it.
- Exact Words: No living being can pass through the ghost mirror. This includes the player.
- Expensive Glass of Crap: Done with a piece of wood, of all things. In order to get help from a mound of talking termites, Nate has to provide them with wood from a very specific year and place, which is supposedly a "great vintage". He just happens to find a rotting board labeled as being the type of wood he's looking for, and when he hands it to the termites, they break out in some Sommelier Speak to praise its exquisiteness. Once you go back in time to plant the board in the place where Nate's supposed to find it, however, it turns out that it's literally just some hunk of wood that was lying by the side of the road.
- Game-Breaker: In-universe. In order to beat Shieldhand in a trading card game, Wilbur has to obtain one of these. He eventually gets his hand on a card that allows him to outright steal Shieldhand's cards, allowing him to beat him.
- Game Within a Game: A wizard and a goat... man... merchant... play World of Businesscraft. It's worse than it sounds.
- Genre Savvy:
- Nate, to a massive degree. He invokes The Three Trials when asking about Plot Coupons, starts looking for ways to cheat even before challenges are fully explained to him, and knows without asking that all the items he needs to overcome a particular challenge are somewhere in the immediate vicinity.
- Death knows perfectly well what kind of game he's in, and he's not particularly happy about it.
- The Grim Reaper: However, he's seen better days in these child-friendly games now that Everybody Lives.
- Hollywood Atheist: Termites. They think lowly of humans (or "apes") and their religion, and believe themselves to be far more suited to the role of dominant species than them. Naturally, it's never explained where'd they get these insights from.
- Innocent Innuendo:Ivo: (Regarding Nate, who's caged by an orc bounty hunter) I want that human, and I will have him before sundown!
Nate: Oooh, elfy!
- Intrepid Merchant: Jorge.
- Mini-Game: Sometimes the normal gameplay is interrupted by cooking exercises or rain dancing.
- Munchkin: Shieldhand the town guard. In order to progress the plot, Wilbur has to beat him in a trading card game... and because he's completely new to it, he has to use cards borrowed from Shieldhand. Naturally, he gives Wilbur the worst cards, requiring him to get his hands on a "supercard" in order to beat him.
- Offscreen Afterlife: Wilbur even mentions a lengthy, exciting, awesome quest fulfilled in the afterlife. We don't get to see anything of it.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The rain dancing is hilarious, but you're too busy watching the DDR style arrows scroll to actually see what your character is doing.
- Our Elves Are Different: Well, kind of. Ivo talks to a bird and is pretty athletic.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Wilbur is a probably the most normal one in his family, actually.
- Our Orcs Are Different: Well... they are kind of civilized.
- Our Trolls Are Different: The big, dumb, slow kind of different in this case.
- Pixel Hunt: There's a highlighting option though, but it's not very intuitive and not mentioned in-game at all: you have to press space bar to use it.
- Samus Is a Girl: the bounty hunter who partnered up with Nate to steal the lamp from the Red Pirate and later turns up in the Dark Wood is a lady gnome called Lizzy Pebblebrook, a.k.a Tin Lizzy.
- Schizo Tech: Well... in a way (again). It gives new meanings to "crashed and bugged servers".
- Second-Hand Storytelling: In offscreen puzzles and adventures.
- Discworld: Wilbur wonders why Death does not speak in all caps.
- Monkey Island: Wilbur can choose to pretend to be Gil...wood something and trying to be a great pirate at some point. There's an elaborate offstage adventure narrated by the action bar. One puzzle involves collecting hair, bodily fluids, a bit of clothing and part of an ancestor, and the ingredients are put into a paper bag and shaken up, exactly like in Monkey Island 2. (The shaker even notes he will NOT need a voodoo doll and pins, which you did need in Monkey Island 2.) You also have the dialogue option of challenging the King of Thieves to a duel, using some insults familiar from Monkey Island, and after his inevitable loss Wilbur will note that he'll never try using someone else's insults ever again.
- The Lord of the Rings: Guess what Wilbur has to deliver to the Archmage in Seefels? Also, one of the aliases he can adopt is "Underhill".
- The tavern in Seastone sells Butterbeer, Firewhisky and Pumpkin Juice.
- Guess what the ring's function turns out to be?Macguffin: Help me, Master Alastair. You're my only hope.
- Vieh (the Critter), as Nate's sidekick, is a Chewbacca-alike in role (and incomprehensible speech) and rather resembles a YipYip with a bigger vocabulary.
- When he first meets Captain Nate hanging in the bounty hunter's cage, Wilbur can't help but wonder if he's the world's greatest swordsman.
- Speaking Simlish: Vieh.Vieh: Gloowa wollaloop!?
- Stat Grinding: Parodied when Nate needs to increase his Blacksmithing skill in order to repair a sword.
- Stripperiffic: Ivo's clothing. She's decent... barely.
- What Happened to the Mouse? Tschiep-Tschiep, Ivo's bird companion, seems to be simply forgotten during the prison escape sequence. The bird does not go through the escape route used by the other characters and is never mentioned or heard from thereafter.
- A Wizard Did It: How does a dragon with far too small wings fly? "If something isn't logical in this world, then it's always down to magic. Very practical, you can explain everything like that. Something's flying that can't fly? - Magic."
- You Dirty Rat!: Averted. The King of Thieves is arguably one of the nicest characters Wilbur meets in Seastone, and he and his family are instrumental in getting him through his mage training.