This is our Stories Untold review. If Stranger Things has taught us anything, it’s that everything needs a little more ‘80s! Luckily that seems to be the case with Stories Untold, and it’s all the better for it. I have to say that I’m a huge fan of games that attempt to break the mold, and Stories Untold is not quite like anything else I’ve ever seen. I mean that in a good way. But before you keep reading and start learning too much, YOU SHOULD PLAY STORIES UNTOLD. Just keep this site open and come back when you’re done, because this is one of those games that you are going to want to experience for yourself. Don’t read spoilers. Don’t watch someone else play. Do yourself a favor, and go in completely blind. I’ll wait.
Are you done? Well don’t worry, I’m not going into spoiler territory, so it’s safe to keep reading. For those of you who didn’t immediately go play it when I told you to, Stories Untold is kind of a hard beast to grasp, as it’s not just ONE game. It consists of four episodes, each of which tells a different story using completely different gameplay elements. And while it may not seem like it at first, the four begin to connect in one of the best ways I’ve seen in quite some time. This is why you’ll be forced to play them in order, with a new episode unlocking after completing the previous one.
Your first tale, House Abandoned, is told through a rather meta setup. You are playing as a person playing a text based adventure. You remember text based adventures, right? The ones where you had to tell the game what you wanted to do, like “LOOK AROUND” or “OPEN DOOR”. No? I feel old.
This may feel like sort of a gimmick at first. All you’re looking at is a desk and a small computer screen, there’s nothing here to scare me or even get invested in. While Stories Untold may lack visually, in the sense that there’s literally not much to look at, it makes up for it with brilliant writing and engaging atmosphere. You may not think you’ll be tense playing a character who’s playing a text based game on a computer that sounds like a fax machine, but you’d be wrong.
In the second episode, The Lab Conduct, you find yourself following instructions from an unidentified individual, conducting experiments you have little knowledge of. But as time goes, you find out more and more about what you’re doing and you may even start to question yourself as you do. Maybe you SHOULDN’T be doing this…
Talking about any episode past this is spoiler territory, but I will say that episode three was likely my favorite followed closely by episode four. And by the end of game, I found myself so invested that I had to physically pump myself up just to type in the final commands. I simply did not want the adventure to end.
That’s not to say there aren’t problems with Stories Untold. The puzzles aren’t terribly hard, the scares aren’t particularly scary… But for what the game is trying to do, and actually accomplishes in its final act, it’s hard to really care about any of the minor flaws. I cannot recommend this game enough. I can see Stories Untold being one of the best, most unexpected indie gems of this year.
Editor’s Note: Stories Untold was developed by No Code and is currently available on Steam. A copy of Stories Untold was provided to us for review purposes.