Adventure Puzzle

Storyteller Reviews – A Puzzle Game Challenges in Playtime.

Storyteller, a game that generated significant pre-release excitement and even caught the attention of veteran publisher Annapurna Interactive, holds its own in the indie game market. However, the verdict on whether developer Daniel Benmergui revolutionized narrative puzzle games or if the tale falls short is a nuanced one – a bit of both. While Storyteller is undeniably unique and immensely enjoyable, its brevity and limited scope prevent it from fully exploring its gameplay potential.

The game concludes so abruptly that players are left wondering if it’s truly over. Despite my enjoyment during the playthrough, the lingering desire for more content is palpable – more characters, settings, actions, and chapters. (It’s worth noting that Storyteller could benefit greatly from being opened up to the modding community, allowing players to create their own stories within the game.)

Describing how Storyteller operates could take many words, but, more than most games, its visual nature aligns well with the “show don’t tell” principle. For a more immersive understanding, I recommend checking out my video review of this brief yet entertaining adventure.

The storyteller presents puzzles rooted in timeless narrative structures and tropes. As the storyteller, your task is to manipulate these story skeletons by introducing characters and concepts until a narrative emerges that aligns with the puzzle’s title.

In Storyteller’s comic-strip world, any story unfolds in three to six panels, sometimes eight. Your challenge is to figure out how to craft the narrative. For example, if the puzzle title is “Eve Dies Heartbroken,” and you’re given a wedding scene, a graveyard scene, and characters Adam and Eve, you arrange the wedding scene with Adam and Eve to make them fall in love. Placing the graveyard in the next panel with Adam on a tombstone results in his death. Positioning Eve next to the grave depicts her heartbroken. The third panel could then feature Eve’s demise.

As the puzzles progress, the narratives become more intricate, clever, and comedic. Introducing a third character to a wedding scene with a married individual leads to rejection, causing heartbreak or scorn. Later puzzles may introduce an affair scene, allowing players to turn a spouse into a cheater, with another character hiding in the bushes to witness the illicit encounter.

Storyteller: Unveiling the Premise and Gameplay

Embark on the captivating journey of Storyteller, where each level unfolds as a self-contained story with a distinct premise. The premise, often a simple event, serves as the player’s guiding objective to complete the level. Notably, the premise allows for creative freedom, enabling players to craft their narratives using the available characters and scenes, as long as the core premise is fulfilled.

For instance, a level titled “A Heartbreak is Healed” presents players with four characters and two scenes. The narrative could take the rejection route, where a character finds new love after initial rejection, or opt for the “death” scene to pave the way for a renewed romantic connection.

Adding to the challenge, some levels feature bonus conditions, encouraging players to delve deeper into their creativity when constructing their stories. Remarkably, Storyteller embraces innovative solutions, avoiding penalization for thinking outside the conventional narrative box. The number of panels in each level determines the complexity and diverse solutions available to fulfill the premise.


Under the hood, each scene transforms into a storytelling tool, with players naturally grasping the impact of each scene on the overall narrative. As you progress, the game introduces a plethora of scenes, continually expanding the possibilities to keep the experience fresh and engaging. From reviving characters to inducing amnesia, turning them into ghosts, or even donning disguises, Storyteller offers a rich variety of tools to weave captivating tales.

A Tapestry of Stories and Characters

Dive into the enchanting world of Storyteller, where a diverse cast of characters draws inspiration from traditional fairy tales and literary periods, featuring monsters, kings, knights, and monarchs. The game cleverly infuses classic story premises and myths with a humorous twist, ensuring a delightful experience for players. Humor permeates the game, and the absurd and comical stories that players can concoct evoke laughter throughout the entire journey. What sets Storyteller apart is its ability to engage players meaningfully, allowing them to become active participants in the humor-infused narrative.

The expressive characters add another layer of charm to the game. Clear indicators of their emotional states, such as a small broken heart above their heads when heartbroken or changes in expressions when placed next to specific characters, enhance the storytelling experience. Notably, these emotional responses are not universal; they vary based on character traits and roles. This nuanced approach adds a distinctive personality to recurring characters, elevating their memorability within the game. In Storyteller, characters come to life with emotions and traits that make the storytelling experience truly immersive and enjoyable.

Effortless Controls and Reactive Puzzles

Experience the simplicity of controls in Storyteller, where the mechanics are user-friendly, requiring only the dragging of characters and scenes in and out of panels. Removal of elements is a breeze with a right-click of the mouse, and players have the flexibility to rearrange entire panels by swapping their positions within the level. The control scheme is intuitive, ensuring that most players quickly find themselves at ease with the mechanics.

A standout feature of the game lies in its real-time dynamics, with characters in each scene continually influenced by preceding panels. Every small alteration made in any panel has a dynamic ripple effect, reshaping the entire narrative. Creating connections between characters becomes crucial to satisfying necessary outcomes in subsequent panels, adding a layer of strategic depth to the gameplay.

The game’s dynamic nature eliminates the need to press buttons to verify correctness. The moment you discover the solution, Storyteller seamlessly notifies you, providing a fluid and responsive gaming experience. Engage effortlessly with the controls and witness the reactive puzzles unfold in real-time, making Storyteller an immersive and accessible storytelling adventure.

Challenge and Endless Stories: Difficulty and Replayability Unveiled

Storyteller unfolds across multiple chapters, each weaving its tapestry of themes, myths, and unique gameplay elements. While the difficulty of individual levels varies, players typically arrive at the apparent solution within a few minutes. Throughout each chapter, there’s a strategically placed challenging level that may require more time and ingenuity to conquer. The game’s approach to difficulty is chapter-centric rather than gradually escalating, ensuring a balanced and enjoyable progression.

This intentional design choice proves beneficial, preventing players from feeling frustrated as they advance. Easier puzzles persist, even in the final chapter, offering a sense of relief and variety. The option to leave a level and return later enhances the player’s agency, promoting a stress-free exploration of the game’s challenges. Personal experience exemplifies this, as some levels remain unconquered while others progress smoothly.

The open-ended nature of solving each level contributes significantly to the Storyteller’s replayability. Previous solutions are preserved as you advance, allowing you to revisit and devise alternative narratives. The collaborative aspect of the game shines when played with friends, offering a potential for shared enjoyment and backseat assistance as you collectively unravel the puzzles.

This adds a delightful social element, enhancing the overall entertainment value, especially given the humorous nature of the stories. Storyteller beckons players to embark on a journey of creativity and replayability, where every puzzle solved opens the door to endless storytelling possibilities.

Storyteller Unveiled: The Artistic Presentation

Upon launching Storyteller, it unveils itself like a magical book, setting the tone for a consistent and enchanting presentation. The narrative unfolds like turning pages, creating a seamless transition between chapters. A whimsical touch is added with a paper texture overlay, immersing players in a fairytale-like atmosphere that permeates the entire experience.


The hand-drawn characters, each meticulously designed to complement their roles and status, enhance the visual charm of Storyteller. Expressive and animated, these characters breathe life into the game, creating a captivating visual narrative. The attention to detail in the character design further contributes to the overall immersive experience.

The musical score, tailored to fit the storytelling premise, adds a charming layer to the presentation. Complemented by a plethora of sound effects that accentuate different scenes and actions, the auditory elements enhance the overall sensory experience. Notably, the sound effect accompanying a character’s shrug in a panel becomes a standout feature, providing a clear indication of when the narrative might be taking an unexpected turn.

As the pages turn and the story unfolds, Storyteller’s presentation is not merely a backdrop but an integral part of the storytelling journey. The harmonious blend of visual and auditory elements creates a delightful synergy, elevating the overall aesthetic appeal of the game. Immerse yourself in the world of Storyteller, where the presentation is not just a prelude but an integral aspect that adds depth and magic to every page turned.

Love, Betrayal, and Flexibility Unleashed

In Storyteller, a whirlwind of tragicomic tribulations unfolds as it explores timeless themes of love, betrayal, and jealousy. The game takes players on a captivating journey through fiction, traversing genres from fairy tales to detective stories, Shakespearean tragedies to gothic horror. While grounded in traditional storytelling expectations, Storyteller delights in subverting norms, providing pleasingly flexible results that challenge established roles and narratives.

Fueling these tales are characters with specific desires and traits, often leading to unexpected reversals of roles. The game embraces the flexibility to explore unconventional scenarios, such as two women in a classic love triangle deciding to get married and live happily ever after.

Storyteller’s comedic prowess shines as it ventures into whimsical ‘what if’ scenarios, injecting humor into established setups. From a courtly romance titled “Everyone Rejects Edgar” to the resurrection of characters like Edgar and the subsequent romantic entanglements, the game fearlessly blends respected classics with playful irreverence.

The joy of Storyteller lies not only in its solutions but in the creative process itself. Players are challenged to think backward from the desired ending, considering character motivations and relationships. The game’s tight logic ensures that intention and effect remain clear, allowing for a seamless experience of trial and error.

The pitch-perfect visuals and intuitive interface enhance the storytelling experience in Storyteller. Plot building becomes a simple act of dragging and dropping, with characters reacting dynamically to each placement. The game’s humorous take on Oedipus Rex, where the innocent statement “I am your mother” becomes a shocking revelation, exemplifies the seamless integration of visuals and gameplay. In Storyteller, the blend of tragedy and comedy, woven together with flexibility and logic, creates a narrative tapestry that is both engaging and delightfully unpredictable.

Storyteller’s Tale: A Brief Yet Engaging Narrative Experience

Immersing yourself in Storyteller’s building blocks proves so enjoyable that you might find yourself devouring it in a single sitting. Completing all 51 puzzles, along with bonus objectives that encourage diverse solutions, takes approximately two hours, offering a charming experience that concludes with closing the book. While the brevity may not be everyone’s cup of tea, those embracing a concise, two-hour adventure may find little room for complaint.

However, as the credits roll, a sense of slight underwhelm may creep in, despite recognizing the years developer Daniel Benmergui invested in crafting the game. Some concepts, like the monsters chapter introducing vampire and werewolf characters, are left under-explored, fading away after a few stories. Beyond the quantity issue, the real concern lies in the Storyteller’s lack of a climactic or profound resolution—it simply stops.

While the creative systems offer intriguing reflections on storytelling dynamics and rule subversion, these themes become apparent early on and don’t evolve significantly as the game progresses. In contrast to other brief puzzle games like Gorogoa or Unpacking, Storyteller lacks a concluding arc, leaving players craving a narrative resolution.

Despite the game’s core brilliance in storytelling mechanics and precise execution, the missing element is a story to call its own. Storyteller tantalizes with its potential, offering a captivating but brief glimpse into the art of storytelling, leaving players hungry for a more satisfying narrative journey.

Storyteller’s Narrative Canvas: Crafting Stories in Panels

In each of Storyteller’s 51 levels, the challenge is to weave a narrative within the constraints of three to eight panels, essentially creating a comic that tells a unique story. The diversity of situations and characters varies from level to level, providing players with a dynamic storytelling experience. For instance, a level may task you with orchestrating a character’s remarriage, offering scenarios like a wedding, fight, poison, and wine, with three characters to choose from, including the one central to the remarrying plot.

Achieving the goal of remarriage involves navigating through the intricacies of marriage, separation, and creating a new marital union within the given six panels. Remarkably, many stories can be told with fewer panels than provided, fostering creativity and efficiency in storytelling. Multiple potential solutions exist for each story, with some levels featuring secondary goals to encourage experimentation and varied problem-solving approaches.

The visual aesthetics and vibe of the Storyteller contribute to the overall enjoyment, as the characters exude personality, and the animated sequences accompanying the stories add an entertaining dimension. The game invites players to experiment with unconventional options, observing the consequences of choices that deviate from the expected path.

For instance, placing a deceased character into a scene often leads to unexpected and amusing reactions from the remaining characters. The ability to shift panels effortlessly with a single button click allows players to manipulate the order of events, offering a strategic tool to troubleshoot and refine their narrative solutions. Storyteller not only challenges players to craft stories but also provides a visually engaging and interactive platform to explore the unexpected outcomes of their creative choices.


Storyteller’s Untapped Potential: An Abrupt Conclusion to Engaging Challenges

While Storyteller boasts clever puzzles, particularly in the later stages, the overall experience falls short of consistently providing the desired level of complexity. A handful of truly challenging puzzles emerge, mostly in the later portion of the 51 stories, leaving players craving more thought-provoking conundrums. Regrettably, the majority of early stories are straightforward, lacking the depth that would tie players’ heads in knots and offer the adrenaline rush of overcoming a seemingly insurmountable puzzle.

For puzzle enthusiasts, the desire for head-scratching complexity often remains unfulfilled in Storyteller. The initial levels, aimed at introducing mechanics and logic, linger for an extended period, leading to a sense of prolonged simplicity. The scarcity of truly challenging puzzles leaves players yearning for a more substantial and engaging experience. While easing players into the mechanics is a sensible approach, the prolonged simplicity dilutes the overall impact.

The potential for the Storyteller to deliver a riveting puzzle experience is evident, particularly in the later, more intricate levels. However, the overall lack of content beyond the early stages leaves the game feeling incomplete. A desire for another forty levels, maintaining or surpassing the complexity of the final chapters, lingers as Storyteller’s untapped potential remains evident. The promise of engaging challenges gets overshadowed by an abrupt conclusion, leaving players yearning for a more satisfying and extended puzzle-solving journey.

A Charming but Brief Journey

While I thoroughly enjoyed my time crafting stories in Storyteller, basking in its charm and engaging mechanics, the game takes too long to hit its stride for an adventure that concludes so swiftly. Completing every level, including alternate challenges, only took me about two hours. Despite its brevity, Storyteller is a narrative worth sharing, especially at the right price. For those seeking a fresh perspective on the puzzle genre, this charming experience offers an enjoyable and unique storytelling journey.

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