Deaf Game Review – Ghost of a Tale

Ghost of a Tale Deaf Accessibility
4.4 / 6 Reviewer
Pros
No spoken dialogue so all dialogue text is well done, icon system for having been spotted by an enemy
Cons
Even with the visibility icon there are still times when players need to rely on hearing to avoid enemies, lore font choice may be difficult to read for some
Visual Representation of Dialogue
Visual Representation of Sound
Visual Cues
Controller Vibration

In Ghost of a Tale, an RPG from SeithCG, you play as Tilo, a Minstrel Mouse in search of his wife in a world ruled by some pretty awful Rats. Throughout the game, you’ll rely on stealth and creative problem solving to complete both main story missions and side missions.

Quite often, games that require players to rely on being stealthy are difficult for Deaf and HoH gamers. The frequent lack of visual indications when you’ve been spotted by an enemy paired with being unable to hear footsteps or enemy voices make for a nearly impossible experience.

Ghost of a Tale is not like most stealth games though.

Ghost of a Tale implemented Deaf/HoH accessibility features!

Now, they’re not perfect, but they’re still quite helpful and make what would otherwise be an unplayable game for Deaf and HoH gamers a fun (and adorable!) experience.

Audio settings menu with volume sliders

As far as audio options go, there is no spoken dialogue, so no need for subtitle settings, but there are sliders for various volume settings.

Tutorial screen for the visibility icon

Above is the icon you’ll see above an enemy’s head. The icon itself is quite helpful, though the difference between the one indicating you’ve been heard and the one indicating you’ve been seen are not nearly different enough to differentiate, especially when playing on a console, sitting a ways away from your TV.

Here are the icons in action:

Tilo sneaking by a sleeping rat guard with an empty visibility indication icon above its head.
First person view of Tilo hiding after having been spotted by an enemy, icon indicating you've been seen.
Tilo hiding in a barrel, icon indicating the enemy is searching for you.

While these icons are very helpful if you’ve spotted an enemy, given that there’s no minimap or radar type thing telling you of the location of nearby enemies, there were several occasions I died after being caught and I wouldn’t have if I’d been able to hear the enemy footsteps. However, after dying a few times, you learn the patterns of enemies and can then avoid detection. Is having to learn their patterns due to lack of sound visualization ideal? No. But you can so the game isn’t entirely unplayable for Deaf/HoH players, just more frustrating on occasion. One annoying issue here (and one that exists in many games) is that when spotted by an enemy, even if players miss the icon changing, the music changes, so hearing players are well aware they need to run and hide. This needs to be paired with an equally obvious visual cue for Deaf/HoH players.

Opening cutscene, green flame burning with text below it.

I mentioned there is no spoken dialogue, so no need for subtitle options, though there are instances of on-screen text. Size wise, it’s decent, though there are no size options. Font wise, it may prove hard to read for some, as it’s a stylized font instead of a clean, easy-to-read sans serif font.

Page from a lore book. Rose illustration with two paragraphs of text.

Same issue with lore books and notes. The font choice isn’t the easiest to read and an option for text subtitles would be incredibly helpful.

Dialogue screen for a side mission. Image of a rat with a box for his dialogue and a separate box for player dialogue choices.

The dialogue choices are clearer and easier to read than the lore text, thankfully. And again, with there being no spoken dialogue, text is nice and large because it’s the only way information is communicated to the player.

Overall, thanks to the enemy awareness icons, this stealthy, adorable mouse action RPG is rather Deaf/HoH friendly. It may prove frustrating on occasion as players may need to try a few times to learn enemy patterns, but given those patterns, it is entirely possible to play without hearing.