I first played Storyteller around eleven years ago, which is also the first time RPS wrote about it. It was a story-building puzzle game in which players constructed three-panel comics by dragging and dropping characters and items such that they combined in delightful, dramatic ways.
It looks to still be that, more or less, now that it’s coming out in greatly expanded and polished form next week. Watch the launch trailer below.
Puzzle games are typically about manipulating some logical machinery. In Storyteller, it’s story logic that you’re tinkering with, which turns out to be as predictable as gravity. There’s joy in watching your choices cascade across panels as, for example, who you place in front of Dracula in panel two switches who is found in the coffin in panel three.
What makes it a puzzle is that each level has a goal, such as a particular kind of story you’re trying to tell, but there might be multiple solutions that qualify as ‘correct’. At least half the fun is in experimenting long after you’ve found an acceptable answer, just to see what other ways you can combine the props you’ve been given.
Developer Daniel Benmergui has worked on several other projects in the years since Storyteller won the IGF Nuovo award, but part of that time has been spent giving it a lovely hand-drawn art style. I like it a lot more than the pixel art of old. I hope the rest of the game has similarly expanded, but even if not, just having a full release for Storyteller at all feels like a kind of triumph.
Storyteller will launch on March 23rd via Steam.