Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala Review

By Rebecca Smith, 1 year ago
Back in February, Artifex Mundi finished the first trilogy it ever brought to the Xbox One, Nightmares from the Deep. The second trilogy to make an appearance was Enigmatis, making its debut two years ago. The second episode followed five months later. After a gap of 17 months, it's only fitting that the third episode of this trilogy, Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala, finally appears on consoles, becoming the second of the publisher's many trilogies to see its story concluded.

Logo

Following on from the events of Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood, the detective and her partner Hamilton are still chasing the evil Preacher. Having escaped their clutches in Maple Creek and Ravenwood, the pair are determined not to let him escape again, but first they need to find him. A quick search of a ruined Maple Creek reveals that the Preacher is heading for the Karakorum Mountains and an ancient monastery that lies amongst its peaks. They need to stop him before his plans to resurrect an ancient demon are fulfilled.

The story is somewhat independent and knowledge of the previous two episodes is not required to be able to enjoy it. The game has the same anonymous detective protagonist and her sidekick found in the other episodes, but the story mostly takes place in new locations with completely new NPC characters to meet along the way. The tutorial mission, which plays out in Maple Creek, also allows players to catch up with previous events while they get used to the controls and work out the Preacher's next location. However, to get all of the story's references, it would be beneficial to have played the previous two episodes before tackling The Shadow of Karkhala. It does provide a satisfactory conclusion to the trilogy and doesn't leave any loose ends.

Maple Creek looks a bit differentMaple Creek looks a bit different

Away from the story, the publisher's typical hidden object gameplay is back. The game includes the standard hidden object puzzles and fragmented object puzzles, meaning you'll face both word lists and picture lists. Unlike the last title, where the hitboxes for some of the hidden objects were far too precise, this title has the opposite problem — they're not precise enough. There were many occasions where hidden objects were found because an incorrect object was close enough to a correct object to register a hit, despite there being a fair amount of distance between them.

The second episode in the trilogy had an alternative to hidden object games in the form of pair matching, and this makes a return in The Shadow of Karkhala. Unlike Snap, where players find pairs of identical pictures, you must instead match pictures that make a suitable pairing, like a camera and photographs. In the second episode, the Pair-Matching puzzles were fairly simple; if anything, they were too easy. This time they've been made more challenging by not including all of the tiles on the board at the start of the puzzle. It's perfectly possible that out of ten tiles in the play area at the start, only one matching pair can be found. The puzzles are not difficult by any stretch of the imagination, but they're certainly not the pushover that they were previously.

There were some strange things in this tentThere were some strange things in this tent

In addition to the hidden object gameplay, players have a variety of mini-games to solve. These don't just take the form of puzzles, there are contextual actions too, like shooting targets and balancing across a narrow tree trunk. They add variety to proceedings but there's still nothing too challenging and it's difficult to fail any of them. If you ever get stuck, the skip function allows you to move you onwards so that your story never grinds to a halt. The best puzzles of the game remain reserved for the evidence wall, which allows players to map out the evidence that they have gathered and form deductions, which go on to reveal a new objective. Rather than just being told a story, players can interact with it instead and uncover its layers themselves. It's just a shame that there aren't that many deductions to make this time and rarely is there more than one conundrum to solve at any one time, making it a far easier process.

The collectible coins introduced in The Mists of Ravenwood have been removed from the game and they haven't really been replaced. Yes, there are three types of collectibles to be found throughout the game's many locations, but these serve little purpose other than unlocking achievements. To be fair, the collectible coins wouldn't really suit the map, which is far more linear than those found in the previous two Enigmatis titles, where it would remain completely open for the duration of the game. In The Shadow of Karkhala progress is instead gated, with players not allowed to return to earlier areas of the map once they reach a certain point in the story. This does mean that collectibles can be easily missed, and it would mean starting a new save file to find those afterward.

Once you cross that ravine, there's no way backOnce you cross that ravine, there's no way back

Upon completion of the story, players will unlock a bonus prequel chapter that tells the events just before the detective and Hamilton arrive in the mountains. There are a couple of new characters and a new spin on some familiar locations, and you'll need to complete this chapter to earn one of the game's achievements. Of the others, 10 are unmissable story-related achievements that will be gathered during a single playthrough of the main game, while you get another for completing the game. You'll also need to make sure that you play on Expert difficulty, find all of the game's three collectibles, and not use any hints or skips. While there is the alternative to the hidden object puzzles, you only need to complete a single pair matching game in less than three minutes, something that can be done on the first puzzle in the bonus chapter. None of these achievements are challenging and the completion should take around 5-6 hours.

Check out our Best Xbox Adventure Games Available in 2018 article for a compilation of other great games in this genre.

Summary

Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala is the final episode of a proper trilogy with a continuing storyline, although it might not have been the best episode of the three. The gameplay won't cause any major surprises here, but there have been a few changes, such as a more linear map that streamlines the whole experience. Alongside the usual hidden object mini-games and puzzles are contextual actions, which add variety but no extra challenge. Those who are sick of hidden object puzzles can also try the pair matching alternative, whose gameplay has been altered slightly from previous titles so that its difficulty matches the rest of the game. The best puzzles are still the evidence board, even if this is easier than in previous episodes. At the end of the day, this title is a satisfactory end to the Enigmatis story arc, and it's concluded in a satisfactory manner with no loose ends left behind.
3.5 / 5
Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala
Positives
  • Satisfactory ending to the trilogy's story
  • Pair matching alternative game's difficulty now matches the rest of the game
  • Evidence board returns
Negatives
  • Hidden object games are a bit too imprecise
Ethics Statement
The reviewer spent 6 hours freezing on top of a mountain while trying to thwart the resurrection of a demon. She earned all 35 of the game's achievements in the process. An Xbox One copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Please read our Review and Ethics Statement for more information.
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.