If you love fantasy romance with a twist – you guessed it, a fairy tale – then read Tales from the Yawning Portal by L. J. Libiran. It’s easy enough to join in with other fantasy adventures by Libiran. Take, for example, “The Courtship of Sir Lancelot,” which is another of Libiran’s great fantasy romance tales. It’s a fast-moving yarn about a prince who falls in love with a common-as-dirt peasant girl. It just recently came out last month and has already been an Amazon Best Seller.
Now, that story takes place in twentieth-century England, during the roaring ’20s. You see, during this period, there’s a worldwide plague, and everything becomes very strange. As strange as it is, there are some people who dare to defy all the odds and travel into the underground. Some of these adventurers find themselves trapped in the Yawning Portals and must race against time to escape.
In addition to bringing readers along through the unique experience of digging through the Yawning Portals, L J Libiran has assembled a wonderfully imaginative cast of characters. Lancelot’s lead character is a young man with latent magical powers who quickly realizes that he must escape the tunnels if he wants to continue his travels. Along with several other unlikely characters, they must overcome a series of grueling challenges while battling the legions of the undead and their allies of fairies and other denizens of the tunnels.
There are twenty-one tales in all, following adventures relating to the history of the Nibelungen Empire, which lives under the sea. Some of these tales feature characters from previous volumes, while others are brand new. For example, the third tale in the set, The Return of the Giants, is written as a prequel to the equally successful A Wrinkle in Time series. Still on pace to become one of the best-selling books in its genre, the tale of Lancelot and the Fair Folk, written by Audrey Niffnaw (The Good Place), has already earned rave reviews.
For the most part, the game comprises adventure scenes set within the world of Nibelungen, a realm populated by humanoids called Fair Folk. These mythical beings have been locked away in the depths of the Yawning Portals for thousands of years, protected by the goddess Enea. When the portals are opened, the Fair Folk searches for their lost friends and engages Lancelot and his allies in combat. Comprised of several different classes, each of which has its own strengths and skills, Tales from the Yawning Portal presents a unique challenge to players who wish to explore and enjoy role-playing.
In the introductory scene, the game presents an impressive first-person perspective that introduces its protagonist, named Herald. Represented as a young man in a white plume mountain-dressing, wearing a cap studded with jewels, he quickly realizes that his tragic past may be about to unfold. Impersonating one of the characters from the aforementioned A Wrinkle in Time, the Herald quickly finds himself trapped within the yawning portal, struggling to fight off monsters that burst from the ground below and enlisting the aid of some unlikely characters as he works his way through the many dungeons in his quest for greater power and advancement.
The premise behind the storyline is that many of the townsfolk of the Yawning Portals have been killed, and it is up to the hero, now named Herald, to save them and deliver justice. To do so, players must utilize a variety of weapons and armor and complete a variety of quests, all using the basic action platform genre structure. Upon entering a new dungeon, players are greeted with a tutorial panel where they are instructed on how to control their character and how to find and use weapons, potions, armor, and more. However, unlike other games that rely solely on text commands to accomplish gameplay, Tales from the Yawning Portal incorporates a much more active experience through the use of movement. This means that players can run, jump, crouch, or Dodge and perform all sorts of interactive actions to get through each dungeons room.
Like many adventure games, players can choose to progress through different stories based on certain points they’ve made. In addition to the narrative campaign, there is also the option to play against computer-generated dungeon creatures. These monsters prove to be highly challenging, and players are often rewarded with a monster that becomes stronger as they progress through the different stories, but they are not given the freedom to fight freely as they would in most RPGs. In addition, Tales from the Yawning Portal features some excellent graphics and sound and a user interface that really looks like something out of a late ’80s sci-fi movie. All in all, Tales from the Yawning Portal does everything an RPG should, and it’s easy to see why this game has become one of the most popular downloads for PC.