Borderlands is a series of first person shooters with a role playing element for consoles and PC. The original game spawned a sequel and then a pre-sequel, that fit between the first two games.
Tales from the Borderlands is nothing like those games. It is made by Telltale Games, the same studio that made games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and most recently, the Game of Thrones. Tales from the Borderlands uses characters from the Borderlands universe but places them in a new setting. Let’s take a closer look at it.
Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic point and click adventure game along the lines of the aforementioned Telltale games. The first episode simultaneously launched on PC, consoles and mobile late last year, with the second episode arriving next week.
In Tales from the Borderlands, you play as one of the two main characters. Rhys is a disgruntled Hyperion employee working with his friend and colleague Vaughn to get back at their boss by making a deal behind his back. Unfortunately for them, the deal quickly goes sour upon their arrival on the planet Pandora where it was supposed to take place. That is where they meet Fiona and her sister Sasha, couple of thieves who were also part of the deal but for different reasons.
You either play as Rhys or Fiona, depending upon the situation. The basic gameplay remains similar to other Telltale games; there are timed interactions wherein you have to choose an option to continue the conversation. Your choices have some longstanding but mostly immediate repercussions and the other characters and the story react accordingly. Other than that, there are also plenty of quick-time events, where you have to tap on a particular point on the screen, or swipe in the indicated direction, repeatedly tap a button before the timer runs out. Apart from that, you also occasionally move about and do basic interaction with objects.
The end result is less of a traditional game and more of an interactive movie. Very few times you will actually be moving around and most of the time you are watching a cutscene being played. The action never stops even when you are expected to interact with the game and the game takes your input and switches over to the next scene seamlessly depending upon on what and how well you played.
This works out brilliantly for touchscreen devices, which usually struggle with traditional movement controls designed for controllers, and the point and click gameplay style thrives on a touchscreen where clicking a target is as easy as touching it.
Tales from the Borderlands is based in the same universe as other Borderlands games and has some recurring characters. But the way the story plays out, it doesn’t matter at all if you have played the previous Borderlands games or not and they aren’t related at all. This is great for someone who hasn’t played the other Borderlands games.
This games has a really neat story of its own but what really brings it all together are the characters and the writing. All the characters are likable, and the witty and humorous writing keeps the game light-hearted and fun despite the abundance of violence in it.
Unfortunately, there is a technical issue with the game. On the iPhone, the game would freeze at times on a scene, especially before a quick-time event was expected. This is quite annoying, especially when you consider this game has been out for some time now and ideally you’d expect all the kinks to have been ironed out.
Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic game and only the first episode is out right now. You can either purchase the five episodes individually or purchase 2-5 together after purchasing the first at a discount. Compared to other Telltale games, the first episode of this game was quite long, clocking in at around three hours, which is nice.
Graphics and Sound
Tales from the Borderlands has a graphic novel style art design, that is consistent with other Borderlands games and also some of the other Telltale games. The game looks excellent and there were no framerate issues on the device I tried it on. The sound was great too, particularly the voice acting, which employed industry veterans such as Troy Baker and Nolan North.
Tales from the Borderlands is a surprisingly fun game that requires no prior knowledge of the Borderlands universe and can be picked up and enjoyed by anyone. The first episode was a lot of fun, with the usual Telltale style gameplay coupled with excellent writing, characters, and story. There are still four episodes left and hopefully they will be just as good.
Pros: Fun gameplay, excellent writing, characters, and voice acting, brilliant visual design
Cons: Occasional freezing in the iOS version
Worth buying?: Yes
Price: $4.99 per episode
Download: iOS | Android
This game was reviewed on the iPhone 5s.