Artifex Mundi are back with yet another of their low priced point-and-click adventures, which are usually filled to the brim with mini games and hidden object scenes. The most recent of their previous offerings on Xbox One, Eventide 2, suffered from pointless new features and a real lack of longevity. Will the latest title of the same genre, Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden, be able to take it back to basics and deliver an adventure worth partaking in?
Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden follows a female protagonist on a mission to rescue her love interest, Robert. He went off exploring and happened to come across an underwater city, after which all contact was lost. It’s down to the player to search the hidden depths of the sea, uncover the mystery of the utopian city known as Eden, and figure out who, or what, is responsible for Robert’s disappearance. Eden appears to be deserted, but something menacing lurks within the ruins of the city.
I find the story to be quite an interesting one, that of an abandoned city beneath the sea, and the intrigue of how it became this way definitely increases when the antagonists are revealed – the wraith-like Legates. Abyss becomes a far creepier affair than any other game belonging to the Artifex library, throwing in the occasional jump-scare. The setting really goes hand in hand with the narrative, creating a dark and wrecked world, yet still showing signs of the glory years, and it suits the tale being told; which is more than can be said for the standard of voice acting and the lack of emotional conviction. The leading lady very quickly desensitises you to the threat of the Legates, as she often greets their appearance with a blasé attitude.
Despite only lasting around three hours, there are enough snippets of information fed to you in between the cutscenes to keep the story ticking over. I’m not overly impressed with the cutscenes though, due to the fact that they can be quite pixelated and it looks pretty awful when compared to the lovely hand-drawn stationary environments. And it’s within the hidden object moments that these shine the most.
In the hidden object scenes, you are tasked with finding a whole host of items from a list given and must use all your detective skills to search the screen for them, often needing to interact with things to obtain the lot. These items could be anything from a teddy bear to a chisel, to even a bat or sea urchin, and upon completion it’ll present a much needed item to enable progression. Fortunately, nothing is tremendously tough to find and there’s no time limit, so you can relax and take it all in. And if you don’t have a keen eye, there’s a domino alternative which sees you matching them to create a path to cover certain areas on-screen.
As far as the mini games are concerned, I am familiar with a fair few of them from previous games of this ilk, but overall they do the job of providing some puzzling fun. One mini game had me switching lights on and off to get them all to switch on at once, whilst another tested my arithmetic by having to ensure all numbers in a grid added up to a specific value. Mixing ingredients after following a recipe is another example of the variety on offer here. The mini games can be tricky at times, but if all else fails, the game does permit you to skip a mini game entirely to allow you to carry on.
Due to the layout of Eden, it does require a bit too much back-tracking, especially when needing to use the lift to change floors, and as a result of that there are moments which make it feel like it was a chore. The cursors issues remain once again too, which is a regular occurrence in these point-and-click adventures; where the hit box is rather iffy during the hidden object scenes. Sadly, there are also no collectibles to find this time either.
I’m slightly disappointed that the main story is only slightly longer than the shortest offering from Artifex Mundi, however there’s a bonus chapter to dig into. This covers the period of time where it all went wrong for Eden and takes you on a short journey through some previously unseen parts of the city. It’s only an hour long at most and does have a few technical problems, but the lore and the mini games balance out the negatives.
Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden is easily one of the creepiest stories that Artifex have delivered to Xbox One, with the city being grim and the antagonist providing jump-scares. It’s all fun and games though, as it is full of mini games and hidden object scenes that’ll keep you entertained. Unfortunately, it’s a bit short in the grand scheme of things, the voiceovers aren’t good and the cutscenes suffer from a visual standpoint.
All in all it’s an adventure worth giving a go though; mainly because of the chilling setting and the interesting tale of a forgotten city.