Stories Untold by No Code and Published by Devolver Digital, is a creepy text adventure game. I hadn’t played a text adventure game prior to Stories Untold, but I played Observation which was also developed by No Code so I knew they make great story driven games and I was all in! I am glad I gave Stories Untold a chance. If you are a fan of creepy games, this is one you should check out.
Being a text adventure, the game is slower paced than most games. Personally, I didn’t have an issue with that. In fact, it was a nice break from fast paced action games. Originally, Stories Untold was released on PC but I played it on Nintendo Switch. I found that for the most part, the controls translated pretty well but not flawlessly. The cursor moves a little slower than I would have liked, but I got used to it soon enough. In addition, some of the prompts don’t work as I expected. Logically, one would think that if you enter a room with a computer on a desk, you would think that you need to “Go” to the desk before you can “Use” the computer. That is not necessarily the case though.
Stories Untold is broken down into four chapters. Each chapter is comprised of a series of puzzles that increase in complexity as you progress. To be honest, some of the puzzles are quite difficult. Of the four chapters, chapter three The Station Process was my favorite. The puzzles in it proved to be quite challenging but not impossible. In that chapter, you have to tune into several radio frequencies to use a cipher to decode messages. If you are a fan of puzzle games, this should be one to check out.
For the most part, each chapter is it’s own story. They do tie together in the fourth chapter though. Each one is set in England in the 1980’s. All of the visuals are correct for the time period. For example, the TV’s are old CRT screens and can be blurry by today’s standards. Overall, Stories Untold feels like a sci-fi horror movie out of the 80’s. No Code did a terrific job in that respect.
The first chapter takes place at a summer home that you spent time in as a child. You set up an old PC that you had a kid and start playing a game on floppy disk. After a little while, you uncover a murder that took place there. In my opinion, this story was the creepiest and darkest of the four.
Chapter Two is set in a science lab. You are a lab technician running several expirements on an artifact of unknown origins. Things take an interesting and disturbing turn though. I know it sounds cliche but a lot of things from the 80’s were so it works.
It’s cold outside!
Chapter three was my favorite on in terms of both setting and puzzles. You operate a remote weather station that is part of a network of similar stations in Greenland. Your microphone is broken so you have to take commands from the other stations but are unable to reply to them. As you tune into different radio frequencies you over hear several messages. One of them mentions a virus spreading accross the ocean. Something attacks the stations and you are tasked with going out into a blizzard and reparing the antenna array. Of the four stories, this one spoke to me the most.
Chapter is where they all tie together. I dont wan’t to give away any more than that, because the suprise was really cool. I liked seeing how No Code tied it all together.
Graphics and Performance:
No Code did an amazing job in Stories Untold look, feel and sound like a movie from the 80’s. Unfortunately, that attention to detail means that the monitors and TVs you use are CRT screens. Text is sometimes blurry and difficult to read. This was most noticeable in Chapter Three when using the microfiche machine. Most of the time, I was playing on my TV about 12′ away and really had some problems with the text on the in game screens. That was really the only issue I had in terms or performance issues.
The Final Verdict:
Overall, Stories Untold is a fun experience that will lead to several play throughs. The short length of each chapter makes it a good palette cleanser, so to speak, between larger games. Sometimes it’s nice to not have to commit 40 hours for an enjoyable experience. If you like puzzles and/ or unsettling games than you should definitely check out Stories Untold. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch, you can also play it on PC. It’s a good game and I am glad I gave it chance. I recommend it if you are looking for a change of pace.