The Trader of Stories:
Gather 'round me, children, and a story I will tell. Actually, it's a story about stories. Well, it's not so much a story as a review of a game about stories and storytellers. In this case, it's the latest from Pastel Games, a bit of short point-and-click fiction called The Trader of Stories: Bell's Heart. In Trader of Stories you take control of Myosotis, a barterer of tales, if you will, who's on her way to a place called The Cradle. Unfortunately, her wagon wheel breaks and she has to go into a small town to get it fixed. Of course, it won't be that easy. It turns out you don't have enough acorns, which are the local currency, to get your your wheel re-wrought. Looks like you're going to have to do some pointing and clicking.
Bell's Heart has all the usual makings of a point-and-click adventure. You'll use your mouse to interact with objects and people and also to help you navigate your way through the game. The most noticeable difference is your book of stories. As you make your way through the game you'll learn bits and pieces of the tragic tale of a local man named Derrida. Every time you hear more of the story, you'll get a note on one page of your book and a part of the picture on the opposite page. Along with fixing your wagon wheel, writing down the story of Derrida is your goal.
Analysis: If you're familiar with Pastel Games this won't come as any surprise to you because, as we've come to expect from them, this game looks and plays beautifully. Every area is lovingly drawn and detailed, the characters are just as well crafted with their unique looks and designs that ooze personality. This might be Pastel's best looking game to date, but since the style tends to change with each game that's an unfair call to make. On the audio front, the music wasn't really my thing, but I can't deny that it was very well done. Just a note, to fiddle with audio and quality options, you can right click on the game at any time to bring up those options.
"The narrative unfolds beautifully no matter what order you work out the clues. Add [this] to the tiny list of games that successfully play with narrative." -Shudog
The gameplay is pretty much standard point-and-click fare. The book of stories is a nice touch and while it doesn't add a whole lot of variety to the genre it is a lot of fun to watch the story come together. One element that might go unappreciated is the signpost tree. Sometimes in point-and-clicks navigation can be really big pain. It can be confusing as to which way you're going or, if the world is big enough, you can get lost. Trader of Stories simplifies all this while still having a nice amount of areas. To get to an area just click on the appropriate sign on the signpost. You'll still get to explore the areas, which aren't that big, but usually have some off-shoots to check out, and it cuts way down on back tracking.
Play all the Big Old Tree that Dreams games:
Trader of Stories: Bell Heart is the first game in the Rudowski brothers' Big Old Tree that Dreams series of games, and it's a great example of a strange, new and wonderful looking world that really draws you in. You want to know more about characters and spend long amounts of time in their world. Unfortunately, the game also tends to feel a bit too short, like getting woken up during the best part of a dream. Bell's Heart is also pretty easy, which doesn't help the length but does help the atmosphere. You'll breeze through it and get to soak in the sights without suffering from frustration induced myopia. In the end you'll want more. More stories to collect, more people to meet, more strange creatures and locations. We'll just have to hope for more.
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Trader of Stories Walkthrough
Except for a few things, most actions can be done in any order.
Pick up wheel.
Pick up the bag of food.
Give food to the Zephyr pulling your wagon.
Click the town or the copse of trees in the distance.
Click the little pile of acorns in front of the stone.
Click the flower to the left of the path.
Click the stone, when the screen changes, click it again, go back to the original screen.
Click the copse of trees to the right.
Click the tree without any ribbons on it.
Click on the bell clapper strapped to the tree. Go back.
Go back to the outskirts, then proceed toward the towns.
Run Down House
Click on the house.
Click on the cat.
Click on the paper on the ground. Click it again when it's in your hand.
Go back, go towards town.
Center of Town
Click on the ladies on the ladies by the well.
Click the horseshoe on the sign post.
Talk to the woman leaning against the wall.
Ask the woman about Derrida
Return to the signpost tree and go to the next location
Click on blacksmith
Give broken wheel to the smith.
Ask the smith about Derrida
Go back, click on the house on the hill
Combine the bell clapper with the bell, click the complete bell
Old Woman's Home
Grab the amulet on the left hand table
Grab the pot to the left of Myosotis
Talk to the woman, then ask her about Derrida
Go back to signpost, go to next area
Grab the pile of acorns on the right side of the round
Click on the cart down the road
Talk to the merchant, then talk to him again to buy the two recipes
Go back, enter the inn
Grab the flint on the table to the left
Click the drunk
Click the bartender
Talk to him, then ask him about Derrida
Grab the bottle above the bartender's head
Click the curtain to the side of the bartender
Click a bottle of wine, buy it
Leave, go back to the signpost, go to the town hall
Click the door up the stairs to the right
Talk to the mayor, then go back and ask him about Derrida
Go back, then click on the door to the left, then click on the waterfall in the distance
Click on a lily pad
Go back to the signpost, go to the rundown house
Run Down House
Use flint on the tinder in the oven
Place pot on oven
Put flower, drunkard's hair and amulet in the pot IN THAT ORDER
Put cat's fur, lily pad and wine in the pot IN THAT ORDER, then use the empty bottle on the pot
Go back to the Wayside Inn
Go inside, use the amulet on the drunk
Go back to the stables
Give the drunk to the woman
Go back to the waterfall
Use potion on water
Talk to Derrida
Return to the mayor, give him the story of Derrida
Go to the forge, buy back your wheel
Go back to your wagon and use the wheel on the wagon
Posted by: Brad | October 1, 2010 1:43 PM
All right, since people still seem to be having trouble I'll outline where you get every piece. This guide will go from the TOP DOWN and from LEFT TO RIGHT. So, if I say "third row, third space," that means the third row from the top and three spaces over.
1st row, 1st space
Ask the bartender about Derrida
1st row, 2nd space
Just talk to the bartender
1st row, 3rd space
Click on the tree without ribbons in the forest
2nd row, 1st space
Click the stone on the first screen away from your wagon
2nd row, 2nd space
Just go to the front of the Butterfly woman's house
2nd row, 3rd space
Just go into the forest
3rd row, 1st space
Ask the Butterfly woman about Derrida
3rd row, 2nd space
Ask the stablewoman about Derrida
3rd row, 3rd space
Talk to Derrida
4th row, 1st space
Just go to the waterfall
4th row, 2nd space
Ask the mayor about Derrida
4th row, 3rd space
Just talk to the stablewoman
5th row, 1st space
Just talk to the merchant down the alley of the Wayside Inn
5th row, 2nd space
Ask the blacksmith about Derrida
5th row, 3rd space
read the paper on the floor of the run down house
Posted by: Brad | October 10, 2010 10:39 PM