Developed by No Code and published by Devolver Digital, Stories Untold is an anthology horror game that features four stories of varying quality with different styles of gameplay. While they initially seem unconnected, the first three stories will converge wonderfully for the final one.
The first story, and the best of the bunch, is called ‘The House Abandon’. It is a remastered version of the same game released as a free-to-play in August 2016. A love-letter to old-school text adventures, as you input instructions into the computer the environment around you begins to change. The tension and horror ramping up nicely.
It’s a great introduction but, disappointingly, it’s the high point of the game overall. The next story, called ‘The Lab Conduct’ is a puzzle game that puts you in the shoes of lab assistant taking instructions as you conduct experiments on a strange box. It’s dripping in mystery but the gameplay is extremely boring.
Although you might wish for the more straight-forward puzzle solving of it once you’ve experienced the infuriating and frustrating puzzles of the third story, ‘The Station Process’. Attempting to replicate the isolation and tension of John Carpenter’s The Thing but getting bogged down by maddening puzzles that just never seem to end. By time you’re given control and able to wander out into the frigid land, most will be desperate for this story to end.
Which brings us to the final story, ‘The Last Session’, where everything that has happened in the other stories converge in excellent fashion. Nothing more than a walking simulator, the conclusion of what it all means is really well done and just about makes the lesser two episodes worth getting through to see how it all pans out.
Visually impressive, sonically pleasing and satisfyingly concluded, the mis-steps Stories Untold make are forgivable because it does so much right. Ignoring the time spent bogged down with the puzzles of the third story, the game is no more than an hour long but you do get some bang for your buck. Hopefully, it’s an idea that can be expanded on with a sequel.
Stories Untold (Xbox Series X)
The Final Score - 6.5/10