Review

A Twisted Tale Chapter 1 Review - a rocky start

A tale with a long way to go

Kieron West

Review by Kieron West

Published on Sun Apr 14 2024

Disclaimer - A Twisted Tale’s first chapter is the only one released as of the publication of this review. The remaining six have been funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and are currently in production. This review will be updated when the rest of the chapters release, so take everything below with a grain of salt - there’s a good chance that the game will see many changes in the months ahead.

Let’s get down to brass tacks - I wasn’t impressed by A Twisted Tale. I won’t belittle the hard work of its solo developer, knowing firsthand that game development is difficult, thankless, and expensive. Instead, I’d like to share my somewhat nitpicky design perspective so future chapters can justify their price point and help the game be the best version of itself.

With the preamble out of the way, let’s start with the aforementioned price. A Twisted Tale charges £15.89 / $18.99, more than most games in the genre, for one chapter with 3-5 hours of content. Despite this high cost of entry, future chapters will appear as paid DLC for anyone who didn’t back the game on Kickstarter, so we can expect to spend upwards of £35 for all the content. If those hours were filled with top-tier puzzles and unique mechanics, it’d be easier to shrug away the cost, but I found the game to be mechanically lacking.

Within a few minutes of hitting the ‘new game’ button, I had plenty of questions. Why is the main character always looking over her shoulder? Why are her various walking animations, and most characters, drawn in clashing art styles? I also wondered about missing quality-of-life features that have been present in point and click games since 2012 (namely pressing the spacebar to see everything that can be interacted with, and in-game objective reminders). It’s all minor, easily-fixed stuff, so I hope the game can iron out some of these technical hiccups in chapter 2 and beyond.

The story begins with protagonist Vio stepping through a portal into a strange new world, but we learn very little about her life or personality beyond some quirky ‘This place is crazy! Or maybe I'm crazy because I’m talking to myself!’ dialogue that made my skin crawl. She does prove to be an endearing protagonist when interacting with the rest of the cast, though.

Side characters usually steal the show in point-and-click games, and that’s definitely true in A Twisted Tale. A grumpy bird-hunting fisherman and the antique store’s neurotic owner were personal highlights, but the supporting cast are all suitably wacky and well-voiced. That being said, there’s a lot of shouting, and a lack of volume sliders - combined with some awkward audio mixing - had me skipping most dialogue.

Puzzle spoilers ahead!

Beyond pestering the townsfolk, you’ve got plenty of puzzles to solve before Vio can get her portal-opening cube back. Some are fairly obvious - distracting construction workers with a juicy turkey to steal their tools - while others will have you wishing you used our hints before you wandered around aimlessly for an hour.

One of these head-scratching puzzles involved a cockroach stuck in some chewing gum. The game implies that you’ll need to find something that can fix this sticky situation, but after solving another (mostly unrelated) puzzle, it just… solves itself. I pressed escape to skip the dialogue that establishes this, and after a very confused fifteen minutes, consulted a walkthrough to find that skipping this dialogue basically ‘broke’ the puzzle. Thankfully, I made a manual save a few minutes prior and avoided a total restart, but it was a strange inclusion.

It’s always a treat to explore games from other cultures - German in this case, which led to a good laugh when I realised several puzzles were solved by simply adding shashlik sauce - but it led to one puzzle being lost in translation. An old woman mentioned a ‘sip of ‘fruit prickler’, and a trip to google translate turned ‘prickler’ into ‘tingly’, which I eventually realised was referring to wine. Some items’ names were awkwardly translated, too.

If you’re the type to go into games without any help, you might find A Twisted Tale’s puzzles to be more obtuse than engaging. Where some point-and-click games give you the option to talk, grab, or just look at an object for different dialogues, your only option here is to click several times until dialogue starts repeating itself. Thankfully, I realised this early on, but hope future chapters can streamline the puzzles to avoid another scenario where I need to exhaust dialogue, click a nearby object several times, then talk to the character again just to get a vague idea of what to do.

I also hope that future chapters will make their objectives clearer. The ultimate goal of the first chapter is to trade a rare flower for the portal-opening device, but I can imagine players getting quite confused with all the superfluous only-used-for-unlocking-achievements items and arbitrary ‘come back later’ roadblocks that are lifted just by leaving and immediately re-entering an area.

Hopefully, this review hasn’t come across as overly harsh; I really do hope that the game blows my socks off in chapter 2 and beyond. I can only judge what’s been put in front of me, though, and there’s plenty of other point-and-click adventure games that I’d recommend before A Twisted Tale - and most of them are cheaper!

Puzzle Difficulty

Inconsistent

Puzzle Satisfaction

Hit-or-miss

Story

Forgettable (so far)

Overall

Wait for more chapters

About the author
Kieron West
Kieron West

Kieron has written video game guides since 2018. As a game designer and completionist, he understands video games on their deepest levels and loves helping others see everything that games have to offer. He even makes games of his own under the name WestyDesign.

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