Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom Review

The latest Artifex Mundi title debuts next week

Posted by B1ueSeptember   23rd April 2017

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Fans will be pleased to know that Artifex Mundi has a new point ‘n click adventure coming to Xbox One next week, so how does Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom compare to other games of the genre and from the developer?

As the game begins, your character is returning home after five years away at the academy. You return to the home town of your childhood to find it terribly changed. In your absence, the once-kind king has deployed an army of golems to “keep the peace,” leaving misery in its wake. You’re met by your adopted uncle, The Alchemist, who raised you as his own after the loss of your parents in childhood. On the first night home, a masked intruder breaks in, and as you follow him, your adventure begins.

The title shares with its predecessors the hidden objects puzzles for which Artifex Mundi is famous. Unlike several of the developer’s later titles, however, the gamer isn’t forced to play the game twice in order to solve the puzzles in different ways, such as the Mahjong, Matching, or Dominoes options of other titles, which is a nice change. Instead, the game employs a new mechanic – Alchemy. As an alchemy student, you can mix ingredients that you find along the way to create important items, usually items needed to press forward with the story. Alchemical creations require you to mix ingredients then successfully negotiate a mini-game/puzzle to complete it. Not only is the new feature interesting but it can be fun figuring out what to do with the newly created potion. You never have to worry about creating the wrong one because you will discover the recipe for the potion and just enough ingredients to make it the one time you need it.

While I enjoyed dispensing with the Matching Game, etc., I can’t say the same for the additional chapter. This is the first Artifex Mundi title I’ve ever played that did not unlock more story with the completion of the main game. Normally, you can expect a Bonus Chapter, a second, smaller story line that either shows you the history of one of the characters pre-game (such as in Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood) or that picks up where the main game left off (as in Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride). It’s disappointing that the extra content is absent here. Not only does it shorten the game, but it’s a letdown for anyone accustomed to the treat of those extra puzzles. With both the alternate puzzle option and the bonus chapter gone, the game is quite short.

The graphics are hand painted and pretty. Most screens are largely static but colorful and pleasing to the eye. The voice acting is adequate, nothing special. The story, too, is largely predictable but fun in a not-too-complicated mystery sort of way. Likewise, the puzzles are enjoyable without being taxing. One of the developer’s great strengths is the nice balance maintained between challenge and ease. The puzzles and mini-games require some thought but not so much that you have to hunt down a walkthrough to find your way. Remaining observant and searching carefully is normally all you need to figure out where to go next, and when in doubt, the handy hint button is always available.

Like the game itself, the achievement list is short with just thirteen achievements available. None of the achievements are story related unless you count completing the game. The achievements revolve around solving the puzzles and mini-games without hints or skipping, solving one of each in under a minute, and the last two are for finding the Kestrel symbols hidden throughout the game’s environments. It’s an easy list, making for fast gamer score but could have used a few more for achievement hunters.

All in all, Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom is largely run-of-the mill. While it maintains Artifex Mundi’s excellence in fan-pleasing puzzles, the game’s pronounced brevity makes it feel almost like a cash grab, which is a real letdown from a company that normally gives fans a little more bang for their buck.

Score: 7 out of 10

Price: $9.99 / €9.99
Release Date: April 27, 2017
Platform: Xbox One

Written by B1ueSeptember

    Administrator Stealth David 23 Apr 2017 10:55 pm

    I did wonder why the bonus chapter was axed let's hope it comes back for the next game in June.

    Edit: Chance to win a copy here https://twitter.com/StealthDavid/status/855347735083536384

    Post last edited 23 Apr 2017 10:57 pm by Stealth David.

      News Editor B1ueSeptember 24 Apr 2017 02:25 am

      It was almost like this game was rushed, do you think? I still enjoyed it, but it's not up to the level as most of their games I've played.

        xLil SheWolfx 25 Apr 2017 09:19 am

        I really want them to make the games in the Windows Store on PC have achievements. Stacks for days and double Gamerscore :)

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