Storyteller is an award-winning puzzle game about building stories. Start with a title, settings and characters and create a story that fits the story’s description. Play with stories of love, intrigue, crime, monsters, betrayal, and more!
Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
Reviewed on: PC (Intel i5-9400F, @2.90GHZ, RTX 2060, 16GB RAM)
Also available for: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Daniel Benmergui, Jeremias Babini, Zypce
Collaborators: David Marchand, Marco Donnantuoni, Lucas Aime, Julieta Romero, Ignacio Esains, Paula Weichandt
Storyteller is a satisfyingly designed puzzler that presents you with a short scenario and asks you to bring it to life using the places and people. It’s an appealing prospect with the audio and visual design to match, making Storyteller an enjoyable little puzzling experience that I recommend playing through slowly.
Broken up into 13 chapters and just over 50 puzzles, Storyteller puts you straight into the puzzling experience. Minimal tutorialization is needed due to the simplicity of the early concepts and the ingrained mechanics of doing what you would expect on each puzzle. Each of these puzzles presents you with three to eight blank squares, several scenes to fill these squares and several characters to come to life and live the prompt at the top of the page. “Eve Dies Heartbroken” is an early prompt that presents three blank squares, two scenes, Love and Death, and the two dramatis personae, Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve fall in Love in the first square/scene; Adam dies in the next, leaving Eve mourning at the gravestone and dying on her lonesome in the final scene.
Worry not if that sounded too easy of a puzzle, as that is only the second prompt in the storybook. Storyteller introduces scenes, concepts and characters and lets you come to grips with them before twisting and turning ideas on their head. Soon you are expected for heartbreak to occur without any death or heartbreak to be healed through a resurrection scene. There are also a handful of puzzles that, after you have pieced the story together, throw in a variable for you to try and accommodate in your story, acting as an added small challenge.
The way the stories and puzzles come together is fun and interesting, but there were only a few puzzles that I struggled with for longer than a few minutes, and I breezed through the game in just over 2 hours. This is why I suggest playing through the game at a slower pace than the typical reviewer, as Storyteller would lend itself to being a bit more enjoyable and challenging if you did a chapter a day with your morning coffee. If developer Daniel Benmergui can continue this formula through a sequel or further expansion, I will be there on day one based on the strength of the puzzling gameplay.
The strength of the puzzling is made all the more engaging by the design polish added to the visuals and audio in Storyteller. Characters will visually and audibly react when something changes in their scene, cluing you into where you have gone, right or wrong. Each click and drag of a scene or character is thus immensely gratifying, giving you an instant prompt to tell whether you have chosen well or poorly. This also applies when changing earlier scenes, which can change the context of a later scene. Adding in a character’s death scene in one panel when you had already placed them alive and well in the next will cause them to instantly appear as a ghost, frightening anyone else in that scene.
Storyteller left me wanting more, which complements the strength of its gameplay formula and is helped by solid polish in the visual and audio departments. Solving one of its puzzles always felt good, even if there was only enough to challenge me for half an afternoon.