Review – Table Of Tales: The Crooked Crown
The setting is a gloomy attic with nothing but a desk and a mechanical talking bird for company. In front of you lies an old letter and key. Following the note and unlocking the table, you bring the bird to life and with it, the world of Table of Tales. From Tin Man Games, Table of Tales: A Crooked Crown is a reinvention of old tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons. Made for virtual reality, it brings to life all the action that would usually only be in your imagination.
The blue robot bird goes by Arbitrix and helps to tell the story. Acting as your game-master and companion, she narrates the journey as it unfolds, giving you choices and every so often, attempting a terrible pirate voice. Choosing different options changes the story in ways you won’t expect, so you’ll never be sure if you’ve made the right choice. There are tough decisions early in the game which will mix up each playthrough, giving Table of Tales: A Crooked Crown plenty of replayability.
The action comes from the turn-based combat. By picking up the little figures, you move them along the board which uses up action points. You are able to play ability cards by picking them up and placing them on the desk, giving you access to special skills and attacks. As you progress through the story, you level up for new cards or boost your characters traits. These traits are used to judge your character’s chance of pulling off a skill-check with a satisfying roll of the dice. Making sure you have the right character for the job is crucial in keeping your band of scoundrels alive.
Everything from playing the cards and rolling the dice looks and feels great. You can play it with a DualShock controller, however using the Move controllers is far more immersive. They recreate the shuffling around of the pieces like in an actual board game. Although, the tracking can sometimes be a little jumpy, which may cause you to fling a character into the ocean. Not to worry though, they right themselves back into their last position before they’re missed.
Board games are more fun with friends and VR versions are no different. Though you can only play the main story in single player, it has a local multiplayer mode. Up to three friends take the controllers to play as the heroes, each controlling their own character. Whereas the user of the headset gets the chance to act as the villain, dispatching minions to stop them. The gameplay is just like the single player, using strategy and planning to get the upper hand.
The backdrop of a dark attic may not seem like the best place to set an ocean-bound fantasy RPG. But then the tabletop drops away and the tiles rise and fall to form cities and oceans in mesmerizing patterns. The bright block design of the tabletop brings out the smooth transitions from scene to scene. As with most board games, you play it sitting down and in the same spot, making it a great introduction to VR for anybody worried about motion sickness.
There is only one voice actor throughout the game and she plays Arbitrix, telling the story by taking on the roles of all the characters in the game. Though not the most diverse cast, the children’s story style she delivers it in is delightful. The soundtrack is has a great set of upbeat tunes that go great with the lighthearted action, helping to keep you engaged in the world.
Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown draws you into its story by putting you in charge of decisions and making you live with the outcome. Through the beautiful transitions and compelling story, you are driven to keep playing one more encounter. With Arbitrix as your faithful game-master, you relive the nostalgia of tabletop RPGs in a whole new way.
Though nothing special, the way everything was created to be like a board game is delightful. It was a good fit for the style and the smooth transitions from scene to scene are amazing to watch.
Fairly true to the classic RPG’s gameplay. Rolling dice, playing and moving game pieces are the core mechanics with the occasional choice to drive the story.
The sole voice actor does a great job but you can only listen to one person for so long before it starts to get boring. The music was serviceable, but also noticeably repetitive.
The initial gameplay is fun and enjoyable, but it doesn’t build upon it very much. Aside from a new attack or skill, most of the encounters are predictable and will get boring after a while.
Final Verdict: 7.5
Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown is available now on PlayStation VR
A copy of Table of Tales: The Crooked Crown was provided by the publisher.