Released on PC and Mac back in 2017 Stories Untold is a collection of horror themed adventures in the style of an MS DOS game from back in the day. A Switch port was released on January 16th of 2020 and would mean that a revamp of the games mechanics would be in order due to the Switches lack of keyboard support. I’m happy to report that this port of Stories Untold offers the same captivating story with no real addition to the content although it lacks the authentic spookiness that you can’t find without using your keyboard.
Written by Jon Mckellan Stories Untold follows an episodic horror adventure that offers a unique story that eventually intertwines with eachother. The first episode is a haunted house, the second episode is a lab, the next is a monitoring station, and the final one plays as a conclusion to the arc. Each episode is as exciting as an episode of Stranger Things or Black Mirror with some very interesting writing and a short format that makes it incredibly easy to binge.
I will not go into detail on each of the episodes but to highlight how well the writing in this game is I will talk about the first episode. The first episode called “The House Abandon” follows your character as they enter their old family vacation home. The MS Dos style ‘choose your action’ gameplay helps paint the scene just as well as you would if you were playing a free roaming title like Silent Hill. The visualization in this game is in your imagination and through the very limited visuals they give you.
The episode continues with your character finding a computer that their dad gifted them along with a game called “The House Abandon” and while I watched my Nintendo Switch have a stroke through violent rumbles I start to become invested in the world that Jon is setting up through a desk, a monitor, and some quick jumpscares.
On the PC and Mac the gameplay is all about typing a descriptive action or needed input on a monitor depending on the episode and the story unravels itself through puzzle solving and exploration. In the Nintendo Switch version the gameplay is cut down to using keywords on a menu with a press of a button and a few other buttons to minimize controls. In my opinion the lack of keyboard removes the true feeling of accomplishment that typing out a response offers and replaces it with an somewhat satisfying mechanic although some inputs definitely make some episodes much harder.
Episode 3 really suffers from its lack of keyboard and mouse as you have to go back and forth between a manual and your computer to put together system inputs to solve puzzles. It’s a lot more tedious and a lot less fun than its PC counterpart as you have to push buttons and constantly wrestle different screens rather than just moving your mouse.
Visuals and Sound So Satisfying It’s Spooky
The aesthetic for this game is peak 80’s horror with authentic sound design and visuals to keep you creeped out and entertained throughout it’s duration. That’s not to say that the story is completely reliant of its 80’s aesthetic as some locations in the game are just simply scary for example a dark gross lab full of old technology turns out to be darker than you’d think as experiments eventually lead to some pretty disturbing events.
And for that reason, episode 2 is a great example of audio and video meshing well together to offer a truly unique piece full of experiments and morbid curiosity.
All in all Stories Untold is a fun port of a beloved indie game from years past. The game offers an entertaining 3 hours of thrills although adjusting to the episodes unique gameplay requirements and tasks may frustrate some. The jump to the Switch was successful but in the end Stories Untold loses a bit of the charm of being a true typing adventure. For the price I would definitely give this a shot if you’re looking for a fun one off adventure without relying on someone with a Netflix account.