With Artifex Mundi continuing to bring their famed point and click games to Xbox One, it’s unsurprising to see their next release, Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride, come to our consoles so recently after their last game – Enigmatis: the Ghost of Maple Creek. Sticking with the slightly creepy and more supernatural side of things, Grim Legends brings us a tale of betrayal, kidnapping and a curse that stemmed from a presumed unrequited love. As usual, this story is told in the form of a point and click game, so how does this offering compare to the others we’ve seen?
Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride: Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Publisher: Artifex Mundi
Release Date: 10 June 2016
Price: £7.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride starts pre-game by showing you a cutscene of a woman in tears, throwing a ring into a pit. Once you start the game, you are thrown into a completely different story, where you take on the role of a young girl who is going to attend her sister’s wedding. Before the wedding can happen, though, your sister is kidnapped by a bear and you, her future husband and the townspeople go in search of her. How these two stories are linked together is revealed to you slowly as you play, but chances are you’ll figure out the link before it is completely told to you. This supernatural style of storytelling works surprising well in Artifex Mundi games, and this is definitely one of the more interesting, if not bizarre, stories we’ve been told. Everything is not as it seems, and there’s a few twists and turns along your journey, but there’s plenty of intrigue to hold your attention for the full length of the story.
Like with previous games, you have the main game and then a bonus chapter to play afterward. After the main game ends, you could finish the story without playing the bonus chapter and be left with a satisfied ending. Playing the bonus chapter allows you a sneak peek into what happens in the weeks following from where the main game ends, and sees you thrown back into dangerous and supernatural situations. The game doesn’t force you to play this bonus chapter to conclude the story, which is nice, but at the same time, rewards you with extra details and story content if you do. The two difficulty options for the game also return, with expert only having the minor differences including longer charging time for hints and no indication on the map as of where to go next. For anyone who has played any of the previous games, there’s no reason not to start off on expert, but newbies aren’t pressured into starting on one or the other difficulty.
As we’ve come to expect from Artifex Mundi, the gameplay largely consists of a mixture of point and click puzzles and hidden object games. There’s the usual variety of puzzles, including ones where you must match and arrange certain objects, concoct potions by combining items in the right amounts and orders, and rearranging items to create a picture. While some of these may pose more of a challenge than others, none of them should completely halt you in your tracks at any point. Hints are also available if you are really struggling, so there’s a nice balance in difficulty for puzzle veterans and puzzle newbies. The hidden object puzzles may annoy you a little bit more, and find you aimlessly clicking around the screen, trying to find the one last object. There are still problems with the item names, where one word could be two different objects (such as bat) and you aren’t given any indication as to which you should be looking for.
If these hidden object puzzles really are the bane of your life, Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride offers players another option. The domino puzzles are an alternative to the hidden objects, and you can choose which to do each time you come across a hidden object puzzle, which is what the game will default to. Domino puzzles see you matching pieces end to end, trying to cover a certain number of bear pictures on a board. Once you manage to cover at least one square of each picture, you win and whatever item the hidden object puzzle would have given you is now in your possession. Unfortunately, there is no explanation given as to how to play these dominoes games, and if you aren’t familiar or willing to just give it a go and see what works, you might find yourself stumped. A simple tutorial or couple of lines on what your aim was with these puzzles would have been appreciated, but it is nice to be given the option of choosing which type of puzzle you want to complete.
The game has a colourful cartoon theme, with lots of blues and purples that enhance the supernatural and magic feeling that accompanies the game’s story. The soundtrack is a good accompaniment too and fits in similarly with the magic based feel of the game, with creepy scores that follow you along your journey. All of this combines well to draw you into the game and make you feel the supernatural kind of story and be drawn right in. The story feels a little longer than some of the previous games, especially on expert where it may take you a few hours to complete the game. With the bonus chapter adding maybe an hour more at the most. It’s largely fun to play, but if you get stuck on a puzzle or are unsure where or what to do next, it’s a little too easy for it to start feeling like a chore rather than something you enjoy.
The voice acting in the game is another area that feels a little lacking and is a particular problem with a lot of Artifex Mundi games. The characters sound largely uninterested and unemotional about the things that are happening around them, and their reactions and general conversations don’t convey the right emotions in the right places. Whilst this is only minor, there’s a fair bit of dialogue, so don’t be surprised if the voices and conversations start to grind on you after a while. Apart from a few minor issues, there aren’t too many problems with the game. If you are interested in the achievements, there’s the usual horde for completing chapters and the game, as well as puzzle based achievements. One minor issue here is that you’ll have to finish the whole story twice in order to obtain all of the achievements, as you need to do complete all of the hidden object puzzles and domino puzzles, which can’t both be completed in one playthrough.
Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride is exactly what you’d expect from Artifex Mundi. It has an exciting and intriguing story, the look and feel of the game fit’s perfectly and the puzzles possess the right level of difficulty for all players to enjoy. The introduction of dominos means you have an option of playing different puzzles now, choosing which one you feel more confident with. On the other hand, we have the same problems again with words not being specific enough, voice acting, which just isn’t up to scratch and a lack of explanation or guidance. These points aside, fans of the previous titles will be right at home here, and for those that have no experience of these type of games, Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride is a perfect one to begin an adventure with.
Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride
- Supernatural story and setting which is told and presented well
- Choice of hidden object or dominoes puzzle everything
- Never too hard or too easy, difficulty always seems appropriate
- No explanation for dominoes puzzle
- Voice acting not up to scratch
- Sometimes might find yourself unsure of where to go/what to do