It is a dark and stormy night as a woman runs through a dark and foreboding forest... again... only this time ahead lies a seemingly bottomless crevasse, known affectionately as the Abyss. Perched precariously on the edge of the Abyss is a tree, twisted and deformed, the sole indication of life in this perilous place. Upon reaching the tree, the woman hurls a ring into the void while uttering a rather ill-chosen outburst. Because while she may have thought that she was alone, she wasn't. At the bottom of the Abyss resides a shadowy, evil entity and not only is he going to make that outburst come true, he's going to make sure that she upholds her part of the bargain no matter the cost.
Once again, Artifex Mundi begins one of their hidden object adventure titles with a tale of impending doom and it is up to you to prevent catastrophe. While Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride
walks a familiar path for anybody who has ever played one of the developer's previous titles, the title also makes an effort to build upon its foundations and introduce something fresh to keep gamers entertained.
The typical Artifex Mundi formula is here. Grim Legends
is a simple Point & Click title where players will need to search a variety of locations for clues or items that are needed to progress further. While there are objects that can be acquired just from browsing an area, most of the searching takes place through a variety of different hidden object games. There are the standard hidden object games, picture-based fragmented object games and the very occasional interactive hidden object game to add variety and prevent the gameplay from growing stale. However, if you are tiring of hidden object games, the game offers an alternative that removes the need to search meticulously through a jumbled pile of items. This game's new feature is domino games.
With just a single button press (
), players can swap any of the standard hidden object games and picture-based fragmented object games for a board with a number of highlighted 2x2 tiles. Starting at the bottom of the screen, players must create a domino chain that covers at least one square on every one of the highlighted tiles. These are by far the most difficult puzzles in the game, not helped by the lack of ability to reset the puzzle upon a wrong move. In fact, too many wrong moves will result in failure in this game, meaning that you'll need to switch back to the hidden object game if you're to finish the task at hand and progress further. It seems like such a simple oversight, but it is one that does become a game changer and will likely see most players sticking to the hidden object puzzles.
The cat can't help you here. He's just going to stare at you until you get it right.
As in previous games, every item serves a purpose although the fun is in working this out. The objects are often triggers for simple logic puzzle mini-games that must be completed to reveal more clues or to allow access to a new area. None of these mini-games are too difficult, but the player does have the option to skip them if they lose patience. Like Clockwork Tales
, the game's protagonist gets a companion in the form of a fluffy kitten, who is able to reach objects that would normally be out of reach. While the animal's mewing can grate on your nerves, this is a helpful indication that the animal has a purpose in that scene. Once that purpose is fulfilled, it goes back to being a quiet presence on your d-pad.Grim Legends
restores the ability to fast travel that was sorely lacking from Enigmatis
, but this is rarely needed. There is little need to backtrack beyond the last 3-4 locations as the game concentrates on pushing players forward through new areas. As such, the game's story travels along at a satisfying pace and none of the scenes outstay their welcome. Artifex's hand-drawn locations and characters make for a very pretty, if not extremely dark village on the edge of an Abyss. Even the voice acting is improved. While it won't win any awards, the characters do manage to sound interested in their fates and there are none of the over-the-top accents found in previous titles. It's a shame, then, that the story itself is one of the weakest links as it struggles to stay out of cliched territory. It's a struggle to explain exactly what I mean without including spoilers, but when life-changing events are relegated to passing mentions in an attempt to keep the somewhat predictable story moving, you'll see what I mean.
You need to talk to all of these people
The game offers two difficulty levels again, Normal and Expert. The latter offers a longer hint recharge, a reduced number of hints and a penalty for too many incorrect clicks during hidden object scenes, as well as a lack of notification on the map for available actions. Despite this, there is no notable change in difficulty for any of the puzzles and you still need to find a similar number of hidden objects. You'll skip the tutorial if you begin the game on Expert, but otherwise you won't be playing at too large a disadvantage than if you did a first playthrough on Normal.
Upon completion of the story, players will unlock a bonus chapter that tells the events that immediately follow the conclusion of the main story. The chapter will add an extra hour to your play time and offers more of the same gameplay and characters, but this time also offers a new selection of locations. Unlike previous titles, your progress in the bonus chapter is required to get the achievements for completing all of the puzzles. You'll also need to complete two full playthroughs of both the main story and the bonus chapter if you're looking for a completion, because it is impossible to complete all of the Hidden Object Games
at the same time as completing all of the domino games
. The game does include collectibles, but these are not needed for any achievement and can be largely ignored.
Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride is proof that Artifex Mundi is trying to make all of their games seem different even if they do share similar gameplay mechanics. The domino games provide an alternative for those tiring of scouring the screen for small objects, but the inability to undo mistakes means that most players will stick to what they know. Despite this, adventure fans shouldn't pass up the chance of another easy completion even if it involves two playthroughs instead of one. For those who don't normally play this type of game, Grim Legends, or any Artifex Mundi game for that matter, continues to be a great starting point for their entry into the genre.
- Simple and accessible gameplay
- Domino games offer alternative to hidden objects
- Improved voice acting
- No option to reset domino games
- Story can become cliched
The reviewer spent 5 hours running through a dark and stormy forest while in grave danger. So that she could earn all 23 of the game's achievements, she did this twice. An Xbox One review copy was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.