Tell Me Why, Review. Magical Realism And Intrigue


DONTNOD returns with an episode of magical realism, where manners and mystery come together to mimic a melancholy fable of melancholy.

Direct heirs of textual adventures From the 80s and 90s, narrative adventures invite the player to participate in the making of history through decisions. Rather than a textual interface, written with some literary intent, the narrative episode contains more complex graphics and more dynamic audio – visual language. Like its older sister, the storytelling adventure bases its gameplay on very simple dialogue options and puzzle solving. In recent years, there has been a new interest in this genre thanks to titles like Life Is Strange, a magical realism title that mixes teenager life habits with a mysterious plot and alternate realities. DONTNOD, the creators of this saga, launched the second installment through clips published between 2018 and 2019. Today is the first chapter of Tell me why (Windows PC, Xbox One), a new work containing some of Life Is Strange ingredients. This time, the next two chapters will be released with a waiting week in between. According to his own study on the official website of the game, the purpose is to give the player space to make his own decisions and make their own guesses about the plot.

Tell me Why the story of two twin brothers, Alysson and Tyler Ronan, reunited in Delos Crossing (Alaska) ten years after the tragic death of her mother. Together, they must return to the home of their childhood to close a painful episode in their lives and move on. However, new discoveries emerge on this visit, and together they pull the thread to resolve an intrigue that nothing is as it seems, and in which the apparent simplicity of departure includes delicate complexity.

Bittersweet reunification

During three 3-4 hour chapters long, the two brothers explore a mystery in which happy sad experiences are mixed. Despite dealing with violent issues, Tell Me Why stands for avoidance of effects and easy morbidity. We don’t get marked tension with quick action, but we do get very personal and hard moments on an emotional level. Despite being a mystery story, Ronan ‘s adventure deals with topics as deep as confidence, economic inequalities and, above all, memory vulnerability and human subjectivity.

DONTNOD also makes an excellent portrait of the characters, whom we know not only through their scenes, but also through their personal belongings. Photos, letters and other things tell us a lot about everyone’s personality. But Tell me Why it behaves like any good work of his magical realism, and within costumbrismo there is a place for fantasy. First, we’ll see how the childhood imagination became an important pillar for Ronan, to the point that many of the puzzles within the game are based on the fables that were part of the twins ’growth. Secondly, we will know the supreme power of the brethren: the Guth, there will be telepathic communication between them and that will be necessary in some moments of the incident. Similarly, young people can compile memories in front of them, which are in a semi-tangible form and provide them with information about previous experiences, which will be crucial in revealing some enigmas. And, while these mechanics are original, we need to apply them more in terms of puzzles.

Tell me Why DONTNOD Entertainment Microsoft PC Windows adventure storytelling Delos Crossing Tyler Alysson Ronan puzzles magic realism

In addition, Tell me Why does not reduce the interaction with decision-making at specific moments. During our interactions, we will have the option to intervene within a time limit, which adds agility and naturalness to the dialogues. Like how it happens in Life Is Strange, our choices will affect how our main characters feel about others and how they relate to us. The major events will be unchanging and with small changes in their nuances. On the other hand, the relationship between the two brothers is the one most likely to be shaped, and the epilogue will depend on the emotional bond created between them and some crucial options. Of course, at the top of the story we will face a final decision in which we will know that there are no perfect consequences, but it will inspire us inside. And, without erasing the details of the story, Tell Me Why challenges the player’s own bias, as well as concepts about justice, ethics and the importance of memories.

Puzzles are a welcome feature of the Ronan brothers’ adventure and, while they keep the complexity as low as possible, they know player involvement you seek your conclusions. To solve them, it is necessary to be attentive to the readings we receive during the adventure and not just a superficial glance. Anyway, if we have difficulties, our few tips will give us tips that will not be too invasive. And, if not yet seen enough, we can choose a tougher way to get around the obstacle of the puzzle. It is also understood that each enigma has a different structure, even if the source of the clues is the same in many of them: sometimes we have to use reading comprehension, other times look at the same environment, and other times remember information.

Weaving stories and unsolved mysteries

Tell me Why allows the player to recreate the time he needs during the exploration. While progress will depend on the main interactions, certain information and collections will give us additional information about the context and the characters. The control between Alysson and Tyler rotates depending on the situation, without us feeling like it’s a satellite of the other or vice versa. Particular attention should also be paid to the integration of certain subjects without complicated tricks. Tyler is a cross man, as can be seen in the trailers, and while his identity is crucial in the construction of his character, he is not at the heart of the plot, and the young man ‘s role in the story is not limited to his gender. We also see in the story include indigenous Alaskan characters, as well as others dealing with mental illness. DONTNOD has done documented work to truly deal with sensitive issues within the game, with a more elegant result.

Tell me Why DONTNOD Entertainment Microsoft PC Windows adventure storytelling Delos Crossing Tyler Alysson Ronan puzzles magic realism

Plus, on an audio-visual level, Tell Me Why is a delight. Delos Crossing surroundings have a peaceful beauty that creates a very effective contrast to the mystery and the uncomfortable relaxation that is, breathing within the home. As for the characters, details are understood that make us feel very natural, such as the pace of movement according to the case, facial expressions and body language even within the exploration sequences. Of course, there is no shortage of tranquility that DONTNOD used for us in Life Is Strange, but is treated differently: sometimes we sit and reflect on the landscape in quiet conversation, and enjoy a moment of reflection.

The ambient sound is also part of a calm atmosphere, with a narrow soundtrack that guides us towards the quietest times and prepares us for the toughest situations. The readability of the texts is varied and commendable accessibility options, although it should be borne in mind that the localization of the Latin Spanish. With English voices and translated texts, we sometimes find overly literal translations that we think could be improved.

Tell me Why DONTNOD Entertainment Microsoft PC Windows adventure storytelling Delos Crossing Tyler Alysson Ronan puzzles magic realism

Finally, Tell Me Why is an adventure the player belongs to him rather than pushing a button to pass text and get the passive role of the reader. A mysterious story that, despite violence, is rooted in everyday themes with which anyone can identify. The fable and reality combine with a very authentic story that will leave us with a melancholy and calming remnant, as we evaluate our decisions, we shudder at other possibilities and wonder if we have really done the right thing.

This game was analyzed in its Windows PC version, thanks to a copy provided by Microsoft.

Tell me Why DONTNOD Entertainment Microsoft PC Windows adventure storytelling Delos Crossing Tyler Alysson Ronan puzzles magic realism

Enigmas between beautiful tranquility


DONTNOD once again offers us a magical realism adventure, in which manners and fantasy are intertwined. The reunification of the Ronan brothers, ten years after the tragic death of her mother, will result in a mystery that deals with everyday issues such as financial problems or the importance of memories. With mechanics as original as the Voice or the harmonization of memories, these require more participation in the puzzles. On the other hand, puzzles involve the player rather than surface exploration and guidance. As in Life Is Strange, decisions shape the characters ’relationships, but no longer affect events. However, he leaves a melancholy remnant on the reliability of his own judgment and doubts about what is right.

THE BEST _____

  • A beautiful story about magical realism
  • Very authentic characters
  • Mystery guided at a good pace with very deep themes
  • Denial of morbidity and efficacy


  • Voice and memories should be more integrated into the puzzles.
  • Some literacy in the site.

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