Those of us who want to flirt awkwardly with Snow White and then beat the shit out of Grendel have finally been heard. The Wolf Among Us, based on Bill Willingham's largely excellent Fables comics series, dives into the world of fairy tale characters exiled in New York and dials up the noir. The protagonist is the sheriff of Fabletown, Bigby Wolf (oh, like you could do better), who's trying to make up for past misdeeds by keeping his fellow fables from slaughtering each other as they wallow in the depravity of the mundane world.
- This is you. (The one closer to the sidewalk, unfortunately.)
Telltale Games is carving out an interesting niche in the space between video games and interactive fiction. Its recent game series based on The Walking Dead delivered a super-dark narrative, but married it to janky controls that were more frustrating than challenging. This time, they've made the action sequences more intuitive (and better telegraphed), but they're still a little troublesome for players who just want to get on with the story. We're hoping they find the sweet spot next time, but the control system really isn't a deal-breaker. (We played using Steam on a Windows machine, and found it consistently tough to identify and mouse over moving targets quickly enough in combat.)
The story drew us in just as tightly as the comics did (despite Willingham's unfortunate ideology). Exposition is fairly smooth, though at times there's just no way around lines of dialogue like "It's a good thing fables are so hard to kill." The choice points are well paced and use a timing mechanism that may challenge slow readers or the chronically indecisive, but it's not so hard to skip back if you flubbed something serious. They've built in some choose-your-own-adventure replayability by showing the choices you made at the end of the chapter—which comes maybe just a little too soon and ends on a WTF-hanger. $5 per chapter (or $15 for a "season pass" for all five chapters on Xbox Live) is a decent price, and it's available on a pretty wide range of platforms—but not on mobile yet. It's certainly worth a look.
The Stranger Testing Department is Rob Lightner, Paul Hughes, and Mary Traverse.