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A Cute Drag

  • Kylaila
  • 03/01/2016 03:56 PM
  • 681 views
Ten Tales is an exploration game diving into a book combining 10 fairy tales joined by continuous fetch-quests coming to an hour-long cute, but ultimately exhausting game.

This game builds on its cuteness, the atmosphere, and the lure of fairy tales - but sadly the gameplay, the clunky following companion, and the constant mindless backtracking waters this frame down, instead of enhancing or guiding through it.
The frame that is there is too sparse to keep you invested, and the writing itself suffers from constant grammatical errors.
You start out as a bookworm. It is rather confusing, as you first seem to read any and every book, and then appear to be very picky in the bookstore, as you hate everything horror-related (among other genre). You have exhausted all local bookstores, so on you go to find a special occult looking one in search of a fairy tale, which you come across as the "Ten Tales Book".
It seems English is not the creator's native language, so it would be most helpful to have someone proofread and correct the dialogue. The idea of most dialogue was coherent and enjoyable for the most part, but it suffered from the invading mistakes in every single textbox.
I was able to ignore it, but it definitely had a negative impact on all dialogues and text passages.


Get used to it.

There are a few anime-like jokes that left me yawning or wanting to facepalm, such as hitting the male character for making a joke, or being extremely shocked and making it a big point that one character that was appearing was crossdressing - I mean, I get the idea, but it seems to have no use at all other than shock value. Is this meant as a joke? If so, it does nothing. Is it useful for anything else? Not really.
And as the character says nothing at all in response, we are none the wiser.

Some ideas were fun, such as replacing a loin-cloth of a naked statue covering its private parts with a censor bar, or a snowman enjoying the feeling of nudity, but most of the jokes left me cold and hanging.
It also had a constant bickering between the two main characters who started out "hating each other, just because", with the female one being 100% girlish and loving cute things, and hating "ecchi" perverted things and references, and suddenly also being a "brute" and hitting people when prior to that none of this trait was apparant (she felt bad for upsetting him starting out, by the by, despite wanting to).
Being nitpicky aside, yes, they are endearing characters although it is a little harder to make out throughout the dialogue. She has curiosity and compassion for everything, he takes a little reserved approach and observes more, it turns out he also an artist. I really enjoyed their overall interactions.
You can talk to him from time to time, getting different commentary on your surroundings.

Before we jump to the fairy tales displayed and the sub-plot tying it together without too much of an discernible plot, let us go over the gameplay.
This is really the crippling aspect of this game, together with the language issues, and it could easily have been avoided.

1. Your sidekick is constantly blocking your path

Your trusted second character, Mark, is follow behing you. This is nice and dandy, if only this was not implemented poorly.
He spawns in the middle of each room you enter, needing to walk up to you again instead of entering with you, you have no way of getting past him if you get stuck in the corner behind an object - there are few instances where this can happen, but it happened to me once and I had to reload an earlier save file.
There is also one time you can get stuck in the dolls that are summoned to the party, if you interact with the table from the upper, not lower side. You will need to reload.

And more than getting stuck, Mark is constantly blocking you, and the only way to get around him, as he moves at almost the same time you do, a little bit slower perhaps, you will need to walk in criss-cross, circles and otherwise odd movement patterns to shake him out of your way.

Every.
Single.
Room.

Every.
Single.
Time.

It is an understatement to say this was annoying throughout my playthrough, as gameplay consist of solely walking around different rooms. With walking being obstructed countless times due to this bad implementation, this is rather frustrating.

2. You cannot pick up items you see unless you triggered the event before it

You will traverse many rooms many times, and you will see items lying around. You will know you will need them. I even saw the wing that was used as decoration that you later need. And you cannot pick it up until the exact same moment you need it.

You will use items automatically if you talk to the right person at the right moment, although often dialogue does not update until you have re-entered the room and often feels jarring to the story experience.
Instead, if you had to use items manually in front of the person, but could pick up items right away, this would both encourage thinking (really, everything is pointed out so clearly it would be impossible to miss), and reduce the backtracking time.

Near the end you need to help out a cupid, the other cupid will tell you what is going on,(the only indicator that you may enter this room now), and that their friend is missing an arrow and a wing - you have seen both items and know where they are, so I went up to pick them up .. except I could not, had to go into the room to the cupid in question, then go back to pick things up, then return to hand them in. And the wing is on the other end of the building, as far away as possible. This is wasted time, adding nothing to the atmosphere or experience.

There is one time you need to build a fishing rod - and once you gathered all ingredients you cannot go out to use it .. but you need to get to a hay stack where you found the needle (a component) first, in order to built it THERE, and then go over to the pond to catch fish.

As a sidenote, the room keys are named after the inhabitant of the "tale" - but when you interact you only have room numbers of 107 and similar, making it a lot harder to navigate. But then you will use every door and see how many are locked in search of that one not-locked door before you can unlock another ..

3. Fetchquests add little to the narrative

The only memorable "tale" of the ten (which are too many for the bare-bones exploration each tale got), was the one involving a pupping giving a tea party.
A teddy bear was not invited - by accident, as it turns out he was invited but the mail-rabbit was lazy - and stole their sweets so it could not happen.
It was sweet to see the dynamics shift, and as you returned things actually happened, and more than that, things happening allowed for more things to happen in turn. And that accompanied by a little bit of different dialogue.

Every other one was short, bare-bones .. and to be honest, not really that charming.
You got a lazy cat, you gotta give her sth so you can get the key - you get no flavour out of that.
You have a super large mum with child, you gotta get mice out of the way so she can return to having a phone call.
You have a kitten wanting to get into the room - she then gets into her room. You can look around the room, there is a super large ball of wool.
You have a groom waiting for her bride who was cursed. They can then marry.

And then they have the love story between chicken and dinosaur, and dragon and sheep for the mere comedic effect and "POWER OF LOVE"-cry.


Now, fairy tales can be all kinds of things, of the theme of this game was the love tying it together - warm friendliness.

And while they interact with each other due to the items scattered and stolen throughout the many rooms hint at the interconnection between different stories and lives - the outcome of each and every action is predictable and almost boring.
You have little to no flavourtext, you do something and then what you did happens. THE END. There is so much room to explore the story world more!
The dinosaur x chicken world - what kinds of problems do they face? How are they getting food if they are obstructing a cook by catching fish?
If they caught fish to eat and survive, and lost it, what will they do now?

I know many fairy tales are simple in the villain and hero theme, of good and evil, but there are so many facettes to it and the world you can explore to make it more interesting. What kind of people are the ones you interact with? What do they do?
We know nothing about the lazy cat other than the fact she likes mice and lies around. That is it.
There is so much you could add to each and every tale! Be it as cute furniture, of interests, of building a world around the tale.
Every item should be a chance to add more flavour to the overall world, both connecting stories, and describing single stories more. It does not.


I will keep that in mind for the ending.

You receive parts of a doll as a reward for every story-thread.
Eventually you reach a plot revelation of this being written for someone, and being a labour of love, but it sadly is not a very effective way of tying it together. A brother tells his sister stories. He gets heartbroken as she felt worse ... for .. some reason? And cannot possible overcome this state in normal ways? And thus never create a proper fairy tale again as it is made with LOVE and he has none until he fixes that?
Then a magician is added to magically fix that hole with .. magic... and our "I HATE YOU" couple to love and marry each other channels their lovey-dovey power to fill his heart together with magic?

Please tell me this is not to be taken seriously. Please.
Humans recover from such things without magic, intimacy cannot be forced, and I really could not grasp where the broken heart came from to begin with.

Yes, the aesthetics are cute. I like fairy tales myself. Do take a look at Ink Travellers for their travel into children stories, it is different but will still be great reference.
Sadly, ten tales falls short in what it could be, and the enjoyment that is there really was not accessible to me due to the mindboggling dread the gameplay was.

It is cute. It has hinted stories in there, a few anime-like jokes and sweet characters. It is also a drag to play and tough to read.