STAFF REVIEW of Stories Untold (Xbox One)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
by Heather Webster

Stories Untold Box art Stories untold is a single player narrative driven adventure game that includes a mix of classic experimental text adventure, point and click and more. A mystery anthology where four short stories come together to make one encompassing narrative, making you feel like you are playing in a game-within-a-game. Or as I like to call it 'Game Inception'!

When the story begins you start out with chapter "The house Abandon". It's difficult to review because spoilers would be a massive disservice, so I'll do my best not to spoil the surprises. You first find yourself sitting down in an 80's-esque environment to boot up your sweet new text based adventure game.

The first chapter, which is purely in the old-school text adventure style, has the most effective use of this mechanic, despite being the most basic. Later chapters incorporate some puzzles, point-and-click elements and even first-person exploration, reminding me of a more modernized escape game format. There are a few puzzles within, but they are either too easy or too difficult. The bulk of the second and third chapters ask players to follow a direction and then carry it out but mid-game ends up feeling tedious. Then, on the other extreme, there are brain teasers where the information is presented in a series of oversized, rapidly flashing pictures that are hard to make out. I found myself wishing to return to the old narrative text style which, although less complex than these “puzzles”, had a unique hook that is virtually absent today.

The second chapter takes place at a lab where you perform an experiment on a mysterious artifact – this is where things become a bit more mysterious. The third ups the ante by pitting you in a station where you communicate using codes. Finally, the fourth... Let’s just say that all of my descriptions thus far simply skim the surface, and the fourth chapter makes sense of what’s really happening throughout the game, putting it all together.

The gameplay is easy to figure out, although younger players and non-gamers not used to the genre may find it clunky and the controls difficult at times. It can also get a little painful in the hands while playing due to the length of time having to try to hold the screen in place to be able to read the story happening on the screen.

Essentially, you spend much of the game looking at a monitor, whether an old television screen or a computer display. The monitor is actually part of a set piece, so you can also see the desk that the monitor sits on, as well as other details like photo frames and a flickering light. A textual narrative appears on the “screen within a screen”, telling a story. You respond to the text by inputting commands. For instance, if you are in front of a house you can input “Look around”, “Use key”, “Open front door,” or other related phrases to interact with the world around you. Some nonsensical commands, like “Go key” won’t work, but others will progress the story. The challenge lies in paying attention to the story and discovering which actions will work.

The sense of subversion is what truly makes Stories Untold stand out. The developer stitches in its scares by going beyond the text, giving credence to the set piece design. The backgrounds alter, images flash and voiced dialogue gives you a sense of confusion and dread. The changes are sometimes subtle enough that discovering them made me do a double-take. The settings, particularly the first one in the house, are fairly ordinary. But how the game finds horror in the mundane is what truly makes it spooky. This isn’t a jump scare game, but be warned that there are some shocking moments and unnerving imagery.

Stories Untold celebrates early adventure games with its narrative text format, telling a suspenseful story through limited visuals and thrilling narrative. It’s a compelling journey, and much of the excitement comes from one’s own imagination. It’s not a long game, but the tale kept me hooked. However, Stories Untold is not for everyone. Players not used to the text format may find the gameplay tedious or unintuitive.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 53,120
Forum Posts: 725,936
Xbox One Titles: 3,862
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,213
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 16,181
Screenshots: 35,657
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

Rule the Globe from your Console in Evil Genius 2

Rule the Globe from your Console in Evil Genius 2Players are tasked with taking over the world. You will need to recruit and train a workforce of loyal minions and powerful henchmen to defend your base from the meddling Forces of Justice and help you in your quest to rule the planet.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
10 Replies, 20745 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 37750 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 50944 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 44652 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 45627 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 60625 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 63335 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 53617 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 88748 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 47866 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 101747 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 74555 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 138457 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 91666 Views

Happy Birthday, Me.
Post by SnoochyBoochy
4 Replies, 114618 Views

© 2000-2021 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics