I Know a Tale
Year Published: 2015
Publisher: Hoshko
Developer: Rexard Entertainment

Somebody here knows a tale. It's too bad they didn't know how to tell it. I Know a Tale is a hidden object game that is stitched together from weirdly mismatched parts and has a laughably poor English translation.

"Bonnie and Clyde" get stoned.

The game begins with a live-action video of a man and woman riding around in their car. An annoyingly repetitive song plays on the radio: "You can do whatever you want, just believe in it". They drive to an antique shop and begin looking around, and my thought was, "Okay, I see what they're doing here. This is what it would be like if people acted out a hidden object game in real life. It's cheesy, but different. Let's see how it goes."

Naturally, I thought these were our heroes...until they pull guns on the shop owner in a robbery attempt that goes very wrong when a magic crystal turns them to stone. So much for doing whatever you want if you just believe in it.

Weird ruins in weird random spots.

You arrive on the scene in the role of an unnamed sheriff (yet in an ordinary squad car). When you enter the antique shop, the live action surroundings have given way to cartoonish hand-drawn backgrounds common to many, many HOGs. You find the ill-fated robbers' stone bodies, but strangely, there is nothing that can be done for them. Instead, you take the crystal (strangely, it doesn't turn you to stone), and go searching for the missing shop owner. He eludes you, but, strangely, you find his daughter chained up in the basement. Yes, there are a lot of strange things going on here.

More than a little unsettling...

The rest of the game's story is told in similar cutscenes to the opening - live action videos of real people (I'm guessing they are members of the dev team) acting out their roles. While this is novel, it clashes with the game's art style and seems to have bene done this way because even by 2015, HOG developers were still having issues figuring out how to animate their characters. It's not just that it's a visual mismatch, there are times when it makes no sense, an example being a cutscene in which you're driving your police cruiser through a suburban area and are suddenly T-boned by a random vehicle at an intersection. But when it cuts from this video back to the game again, you're on a mountain path with your car dangling over a guardrail - no buildings or other roads anywhere in sight.

The story ambles along as you travel to the island of the mysterious crystal's origins, investigate a bunch of ruins there, learn about an ancient demon, and find many more people who have been turned to stone, all while the grammar continues to get worse and worse. In the beginning of the game, you are given reasonable prompts such as, "I need a key", but after a point if you're missing something, it always says, "Not enough", resulting in hilarious dialogue like this.

But then wouldn't they all eventually be gone?

There may very well be a tale in here. But it's not one veterans of the hidden object genre haven't heard before and heard with better sentence structure. It has some pretty scenery, but it's incongruity with the cutscenes makes it feel out-of-place. There is also one puzzle - a rotating tile puzzle of an eagle picture - that I had to skip because it seems it has to be done a particular way, and there is no guide available that says what the correct sequence is. But there are no achievements, and quite frankly, I know of tales that are more worth my time.

SCORE: 1.5/5