The Darkest Tales: Spooky Storybook Splendor With a Hack and Slash Teddy Bear Hero
Editor’s Note: We’re continuing our coverage of spooky games this Halloween season. This week, Michael Blaker takes a look at The Darkest Tales, which he describes as very Metroid-esque in his presentation.
But while The Darkest Tales may at first look like a Disney or Pixar presentation, it is clearly aimed at a more mature audience. Each level is basically a fairy tale, but more along the lines of the original Brothers Grimm fairy tales, which in case you didn’t know, were actually very dark and graphic.
The Darket Tales features many familiar fairytale and storybook characters, but portrays them as much darker versions of themselves in this adventure. Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Gingerbread Men and Pinocchio are just some of the characters you will meet in The Darkest Tales. All of this adds up to a pretty fun platformer with a dark twist, which is especially fun during the Halloween season. And with that, let’s turn things over to Michael for his take on The Darkest Tales.
Hello everyone, I’m back with a new version of a Metroidvania subgenre of games. It’s The Darkest Tales!
Plot: The plot of this game is pretty much a more grown-up version of the original Grimm versions of bedtime stories rather than what you see in Disney or other similar kid-friendly versions of fairy tales.
Our hero Teddy in this game is a teddy bear recruited by Lighty, a Night-lite, to enter his owner’s dreams to protect her from dream demons. The bear was previously owned by the girl he is trying to save, but he has long since been left to gather dust. Now he’s back to save his little girl, only she’s not so little anymore. Although the overall plot is somewhat basic, there are quite a few little twists and turns to keep things interesting.
Game: The game is very much a Metroidvania, leaning more towards the Castlevania end of the scale than the Metroid, and it’s a lot of fun. I honestly enjoyed going back to pick up upgrades or skills to improve Teddy, happily fighting enemies along the way to level up to boost my basic skills or health. Your primary weapon is scissors which you wield like two swords, so be ready to cut seriously.
In all honesty, the entire Darkest Tales game was a lot of fun, if a bit short in duration for my taste. I wouldn’t have minded another four or five hours of gameplay packed into this title if it continued to maintain its high level of hack and slash gameplay.
Art: The art is mostly 2D, but it’s not pixelated, so more Cel-Shaded than anything else. It’s very good, and I quite enjoyed the different locations and enemy variations showcased in The Darkest Tales. I can’t complain about the art at all, and the twisted storybook landscapes were fun to experience. The game ran amazingly well on my rig, which isn’t a top-tier gaming PC, so I enjoyed it.
Music: The musical score of Darkest Tales was good, although it was easily the lowest point of the various game elements, as it didn’t really stand out too much. However, the voice work was excellent and the entire game is fully voiced, something you don’t often find in an indie title. And you’ll hardly ever find a voiced indie game where everyone sounds really good without a weak link in the pack.
For example, Teddy being voiced as a grumpy teddy bear was honestly a lot of fun, and hearing him snarl at people always gave an upward curve to my lips.
My only complaint regarding the voice work was that the game flipped back and forth over Alicia’s pronunciation, going from A-Lee-See-A to A-Lee-Sha a few times, but the first pronunciation was the most prevalent.
All in all: The Darkest Tales is a very fun Metroidvania game, although I wished it had a bit more content. But with a price point on Steam of $17, it’s a good value, especially this time of year when gamers are looking for something unique and a little creepy to play.
For those who like: Action, Adventure, Drama, Adventure, Fantasy, Metroidvania game, great gameplay, fun plot, great cast, excellent artwork and superb voice work.
Not for those who don’t like: Some of the above.