In the same month that the third instalment of the Grim Legends series hits the PC and mobile platforms, Artifex Mundi have decided to coincide it with the original adventure coming to the Xbox One. Following in the footsteps of the handful of hidden object puzzle games by Artifiex Mundi already on the Xbox store, Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride has a lot to live up to if it’s to outdo its puzzling counterparts.
A good story would go a long way towards The Forsaken Bride being a success. And so we begin with the main campaign mode, which is preceded by a brief cutscene about a woman scorned throwing a wedding ring off a cliff in a moment of rage, before a demonic being appears to signify a curse has been placed on someone. Flash forwards a quarter of a century for the beginning of the story mode, where you’ll control a different woman heading to a lonely village, Ravenbrook, for her twin sister’s wedding. Chaos ensues when a ferocious bear arrives, takes the sister and leaves the village people – no, not the musical group – in disarray at what on earth is going on. Truth be told, it’s not a groundbreaking tale but offers the player enough questions that need to be answered.
Finding a way to get the sister back, by searching for clues and objects using an on-screen cursor to piece together the mystery that’s unfolding, is the aim of the game. And after playing numerous games of this ilk already, I’m pleased to reveal that there’s still enough variation in the puzzles to entertain both newcomers and veterans of the genre. One minute you’ll be sliding tiles around to form a picture and the next there’ll be an animated scene with which you need to play out certain actions in the correct order to succeed.
Other ways you’ll be solving puzzles will be by navigating balls through a labyrinth or using shiny eggs to light up all the specified areas on a board. Artifex Mundi have even included a part where a crossbow is used to further the quest; although this in itself is nothing spectacular, something like this adds another dimension to the variation. The Forsaken Bride never has the player thinking ‘oh not this again’.
Often there’s a genuine difficulty to the mini-games, but nothing that a bit of patience, logic and good old trial and error can’t solve. Even if it happens to be beyond your skills, hints are always available to ease the pain. To actually start these mini-games, items may be needed that are dotted around different areas or gained by completing Hidden Object scenes.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Hidden Object scenes are a huge draw for these games because they enlighten gamers to recognise items that are uncommon in everyday life. Many of these scenes give you a list of items to find in an area and it may require interacting with parts to fulfil the entire list. These Hidden Object sections toe the line between relaxation and frustration when there’s a single item left which seemingly doesn’t exist to your eyes. That’s mainly due to the clever ways some objects are interpreted or actually camouflaged into something else.
Once more, Artifex have thought hard about the layouts and for those who do struggle, the game offers an alternate way to obtain the item – through a game of Dominos. It’s a simple task of matching different designed domino tiles together in order to cover up special areas of the game board.
After the main story is over, which should take up a good few hours, there’s a bonus chapter unlocked to bring about a bit of closure to the narrative. It only adds a single hour or so of gameplay however, the mini-games that come with it are equally as interesting, unique and intriguing as I’d already seen.
Other than that, there are a whole load of sneakily hidden collectibles to find throughout both story modes and you’ll be able to see how many are still missing at any point from the main menu. This gives another thing to look out for during a second run through on expert difficulty, where the help is less forthcoming.
Considering players of The Forsaken Bride will end up staring at a lot of still areas, they need to be kind on the eyes. The hand drawn scenes are beautiful, vibrant and completely convey the fairytale style that Grim Legends requires. From the moonlit sky to the flourishing greenery and slightly spooky forest dwellings, all areas deliver in the design and colour department to a high standard.
It looks great, it plays out at the gamer’s own pace and drags you into the magical world, making you want to know more about the characters. Just when you think you’ve experienced all types of mini-games, this game brings a fresh load to the table. Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride offers everything you could ask for in a hidden object puzzle adventure, with only small faults to note in the dubious voice acting and the occasional cursor issue.
When you’ve had enough of the fast paced life of sports games and shooters, kick back, relax and grab Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride. Take your mind on a magical journey that’ll have you wanting more.