Artifex Mundi hidden object games can be comfort-food, and there’s nothing new or knotty about Endless Fables: Shadow Within. Its story makes no sense, its universe is all over the place, and we’ve seen every puzzle and minigame countless times before - in Endless Fables games, no less. But it also ticks the requisite boxes with the keyword being ‘familiarity’. If you treat these games as a blanket to snuggle into, then this one is fluffier than most.
There can be a real joy found in playing the Hidden Object masterpieces that come out of the Artifex Mundi stable. With intrigue, mystery and delights at every turn, it's these games which are well known for dragging gamers in. And whilst there's a huge amount of Artifex titles available already, with the release of Endless Fables: Shadow Within, we find them building out that library even more.
We think we’ve found the perfect way to describe curiosity ‘No Thing’. It’s an endless-turner, to borrow a naming structure from endless-runners, as you are constantly moving, but instead of changing lanes or making well-timed jumps, you are turning whenever there’s a corner.
The real horror here is the fact that as the sixth instalment of a so called “series”, Outbreak: Endless Nightmares has absolutely no semblance of a functioning video game. This feels like an incomplete gamma build of a hobby project, and I shudder to think what the five prequels would be like. A solo development effort is an admirable endeavour, and making games is incredibly difficult, but there is simply no valid excuse to churning out a completely broken and non-functioning experience.