This title is exclusive to Switch and was reviewed as such.
If the past few games I’ve had to review are anything to go by, it seems as though the Switch is suffering the same fate as its granddad the Wii; being filled with tons of pointless shovelware. Theatre Tales ends up solidifying that fact, being a bit of software that ultimately feels pointless. How so? Let’s find out.
Admittedly, the visuals in Theatre Tales are actually decent. The whole setup is that of a puppet show, and the visuals reflect that quite well. Everything in the world looks handmade, with trees being made of cardboard, eyes either being simple dots or googly eyes, and moving joints visible on the characters. Theatre Tales even has a red curtain bordering the game at all times, closing at the end of the performance. The characters are also on sticks to reflect the fact that they’re puppets. Overall, it does look the part.
At the moment, there’s only one story Theatre Tales has to tell: Little Red Riding Hood. It’s a very kid friendly adaptation of it, with grandma hiding under her bed instead of getting eaten by the wolf, and the hunter shooting a target above the wolf’s head to scare it off instead of killing it. It was the way the story is condensed that made me realise that this game is made for much younger audiences, and that makes sense in terms of the gameplay. Each screen has a puzzle to solve, and they’re very simple, usually involving going to whatever is shaking on screen and pressing A to interact with it. The worst of these is when you have to fix a torn up photo of grandma, and while you would usually place the pieces in the right place to solve the jigsaw, here you just have to mash A and it will solve itself.
However, even if it’s designed for a very young audience, it is flawed in that aspect too. For one, the only story in the game lasts about five minutes, so it’s no good when you want to keep your kid entertained for a few hours. On top of that, it fails as an edutainment game, with those puzzles I mentioned not even testing the youngest of brains. As well as this, Theatre Tales isn’t voiced, with everything being narrated by visual thought bubbles and character movement, robbing the game of an opportunity to be an English edutainment game. At least the atmospheric audio is decent right?
Theatre Tales is a prime example of Wii-style shovelware on the Switch. While it looks the part and has some decent audio, it falls apart everywhere else. For starters, it lacks content, with one story that can be done in about five minutes. While it is designed for a younger audience and I was willing to give it a pass for that, it ruins the opportunity to be a decent edutainment title as well, with puzzles that wouldn’t challenge a foetus and the lack of speech ruining any chance to teach language skills. If Theatre Tales had more challenging puzzles and took the opportunity to teach language, I’d recommend it, but I’d skip this one, because even if those other stories finally get released, they’ll more than likely have the same flaws.