Artifex Mundi and House of Fables have returned with their fantastical Eventide hidden object adventure series inspired by Slavic folklore, having already delivered two instalments featuring a famous botanist named Mary Gilbert. She’s taken on the demonic Boruta in the lovely Slavic Fable offering and halted the evil plans of powerful mage Tvardovsky in the disappointing Sorcerer’s Mirror, but now it’s time for the third and final chapter to make amends for that. Can Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends get things in order to create a magical experience that ends the trilogy on a high?
That Mary, gosh she lives an exciting life for a botanist, with the latest adventure kicking off after she visits her brother to plant flowers and somehow re-triggers a long-standing conflict between humans and ancient beings in the sky, Clouders. Basically, the King of the Clouders has decided to cause a catastrophic flood and kill off a load of humans. He even kidnaps Mary’s brother as part of the ritual and so the fate of all the land rests on the woman of the hour. It’s off to the magical flying islands in the sky she goes.
The foundations of the story aren’t anything new, with kidnapping a regular occurrence in the Artifex Mundi games, however it’s the enchanting world and creatures surrounding it that ensures an intriguing tale. You’ll be introduced to the Zmeys (Slavic dragons), the god of thunder – no, not Thor – Perun, and various other deities of eastern European mythology. Whilst the story explains a little about all of this, it’s the collectible cards placed randomly throughout the main mode which add more depth to the lore when found. These can be viewed in a section akin to a bestiary and are a great insight into folklore that many will be unfamiliar with.
As a hidden object point-and-click adventure, the majority of the gameplay sees you controlling Mary from a first-person perspective, interacting with everything and anything in each location. The aim is to acquire useful items to store in the inventory for utilising at a later point to overcome the many obstacles on your path. This could have you collecting parts to make an oar, before putting them together to form the oar and sail away using it, or picking up a bowl to scoop up water and make an offering to a statue. It would be a tad boring if that was the only type of problem solving though, which is why there are also hidden object scenes and mini-games to contend with.
Once upon a time, hidden object scenes were merely a matter of finding items within an environment from a list of given words, but they’ve since evolved. Now it ends up where you could be locating symbols or even multiple copies of the same flower, for example. These sections are really quite tough and truly separate the Sherlock Holmes wannabes from the Mr Magoo types, with things being very well hidden. The different types of hidden object scenes are welcome, however the inaccurate cursor to select items and such is a slight annoyance. The amount of occasions where a correctly found entity is denied, leading you to presume it’s actually your mistake and carry on searching pointlessly, can be irritating to say the least.
That’s okay though, because Artifex and House of Fables have pulled out all the stops to deliver the most varied assortment of mini-games. It’s almost a ‘best of’ collection of the other hidden object games under the umbrella of the publisher, with rune battles, sliding block and missing square type puzzles, the mathematical measuring out of liquids, story sequences needing to be placed in the correct order, and much more. There’s something for everyone without a doubt, and if a task is too difficult the option the skip is present for all to use. There is no drawback to using it either – unless you’re achievement hunting.
Visually, Eventide 3 is simply bursting at the seams with vibrant colours to accentuate every detail of the lovely hand-drawn environments, helping to create a magical land in the clouds. Even the darker moments of the tale are delivered beautifully, without a drab view in sight. A special mention must go to the refined look of a couple of the main character models, especially Perun, whose face has so much more texture than is usually found in the series. Sadly, the sound department lets it down, simply due to unbelievable voice acting during moment of distress – it comes across terrible when any emotion is needed.
Overall and Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends is a great final chapter to the Slavic tales, with a truly interesting lore accompanying a load of enjoyable mini-games. Add to that the variety in the hidden object scenes and the myriad of inventory based puzzles that the point-and-click genre is renowned for, and there’s a worthwhile experience here for anyone looking to relax whilst gaming. Sure, the voiceovers and that darned cursor are a tad problematic, but that isn’t enough to be put off it.
Should the idea of a 4-6 hour adventure full of puzzles be what you’re after, look no further than Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends. It’s bloody great.