Storyteller is an enjoyable puzzle game with a unique concept and a solid timeline mechanic. The premise of each level is to build a story using the characters and the settings given to you by mixing and matching them into picture frames, which are then ordered to form a sequence of events. By dragging one or two of the available characters into one of the available environments, you animate them and make them perform actions according to the environment chosen and according to the story built so far. Changing something in a previous frame will modify all the subsequent ones to reflect these changes (for example, when a certain character dies, he will appear as a ghost in all frames after the current one, making the other characters interact with him in a different way than when he was alive).
The title of the story will tell you exactly what’s expected of you, and part of the fun is discovering ways to make your characters perform a certain action. Some puzzles are very trivial and can be solved in mere seconds, while others are quite complex and will require you to place the characters in various circumstances so that they end up liking or hating each other, giving them motives to perform the actions suggested by the story’s title. For example, a character placed in a setting containing a gun will pick it up only if they have a motive to do so, and will further use that gun to kill another character only if a previous frame made them hate each other.
In a way, Storyteller is a “find the developer’s solution” kind of game, considering that the levels usually have unique solutions. Some titles are intentionally left vague though, allowing you to solve a level in two different ways, but even so, the solutions are predetermined and as soon as one of them is reached, the title changes to reflect the flow of the story you chose to create.
Storyteller is a game that will appeal primarily to visual people or to those that derive enjoyment from visualizing a story in their minds based on a sequence of pictures, similarly to a comic book. While it could look suitable for younger audiences too due to its cute graphics and its unique way to stimulate one’s creativity, I’d say that the logical process required to reach a solution for most of the levels is rather complex, often making one think in terms of intrigue, court affairs, vengeance, jealousy etc.
While the gameplay is amusing and entertaining, and the mechanics are well implemented, the game gathers a lot of negativity due to it being overpriced. Storyteller can be finished in less than 3h without checking a guide, and for that kind of content the asking price of $14.99 is very high, especially since the game doesn’t offer any replayability. Annapurna Interactive is known to deliver quality products (they’re one of my favorite publishers on Steam) and even though Storyteller is up to those standards, it’s simply not enough to justify the price, not even at the 50% off discount that the game will likely reach in 2+ years.