A Short Tale Review
A Short Tale Review
A nice departure from the standard "escape the room" fare with challenging puzzles and a whimsical soundtrack
Posted: 06/26/16 | Category: Review | Developer: Glitch Games | Publisher: Glitch Games | Platform: Android, Ios, Windows, Mac

Genre: Room Escape
Release date: February 11, 2016

Escape the Room
 

Most tablet gamers are familiar with the "Room Escape" genre. The typical game opens with you finding yourself in a locked environment with no knowledge of who you are or how you got there. Often, there's a malevolent force at work and the object of the game is to escape the room by locating clues and solving puzzles.

A Short Tale, by Glitch Games, departs from this scenario by opening with the bittersweet story of Jason, who's lost his brother Ben. He returns to Ben’s childhood room and is filled with memories of good times gone by. He wishes that he could be small again and return to the past. While the intent of Jason’s wish is to be a child again, his wish is granted literally and he shrinks to a very small size. So small, in fact, that he can't reach the doorknob to leave the room. Thus begins a first-person escape which requires you to enlist the help of various toys to aid you in your exit. Each toy has one or more objections to helping you, and which must be overcome by performing a task or finding a requested item. And no errand is simple. All require the unveiling of a series of clues, with one puzzle leading to the next, until all toys are satisfied and can be convinced to come to your aid.

The game is a 2D point-and-click interface that uses the mouse to navigate and select. You move through adjacent room segments by clicking on the edge of the current view, as indicated by on-screen directional arrows. You can zoom in to interact with many objects in the room, and inventory is collected and used by clicking. There are paths to climb and others to descend so Ben’s bedroom includes a lot of geography for a small person to explore. Active items are not visually differentiated, and this leads to a good bit of clicking in the beginning as you learn the lay of the land.

Jason’s musings and his conversations with specific toys are presented in text without voice-overs. The soundtrack consists of environmental effects backed by a whimsical music score which adds to your sense of being in a child’s room. I found myself enjoying it rather than playing in "silent" mode (which I often do).

To avoid the risk of lost game progress, A Short Tale includes an auto-save feature and also provides the player with the option of intentionally saving to multiple slots.

Simple But Not Easy
 

Glitch hasn't disappointed me. The puzzles are thought-provoking and require a certain level of intellect. Some are inventory-based while others require interpreting patterns at a conceptual level. Often, clues aren't as obvious as they first appear and, on several occasions, I spent a bit of time pursing the wrong approach entirely. The absence of any in-game hints makes A Short Tale even more challenging. I was determined to make it all the way through this adventure without any outside assistance and I was almost successful. I did get stuck at one point and required a nugget of information which I will share here. A Short Tale does not accept input via your microphone (i.e., talking to or shouting at the game has no effect). If a puzzle requires a voice command, you're going to have to figure out how to make it happen with objects found in the game environment.

A Short Tale includes the Glitch Camera which is my very favorite game feature. This allows you to take pictures of clues and then, when needed, "float" a specific picture over the game screen for use as a reference when solving a puzzle. Thus, there's no need for extensive note-taking with pencil and paper.

in text image

The Long and Short of It
 

As the name (and price) imply, this is a fairly short game that takes place in a single room. However, if one avoids the temptation of peeking at a walkthrough, the puzzles are challenging enough to provide quite a few hours of contemplation, trial and error  And, there's something truly satisfying about completing an adventure armed with only your wits and imagination.

For those who are Glitch Game fans, you may remember that Cabin Escape: Alice’s Story is a short game released between Forever Lost 2 and Forever Lost 3. It came out during a long development cycle and served to keep Glitch in our minds and remind us that a new title was coming soon. Right now, Glitch is actively working on a new game, The Forgotten Room, that is coming ‘"soon-ish." In the meantime, A Short Tale fills the gap and reaffirms my belief that a new Glitch adventure is worth waiting for with anticipation .

 
Story is a nice departure from the standard 'escape the room' fare
Puzzles are challenging but solvable through creative thinking
Whimsical sound track provides a nice respite from the stresses of the day
 
Prepare to do a lot of clicking
 
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 
 
 
Specials from Digital Download
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