Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom in Review – These Golems Don’t Want A Ring
I’ve always considered the Artifex Mundi logo sort of a stamp of quality when it comes to adventure and hidden object games, and Lost Grimoires is certainly no exception to that rule. While this may not be the most challenging offering in its genre, the story is compelling enough to keep you until the very end and there’s enough game play that you shouldn’t feel slighted in that department. The hidden object scenes seem a bit superfluous, though the mini-games serve the correct purpose of acting merely as an occasional distraction instead of stalling the game too often. Overall the game is well balanced, and the addition of the concept of alchemy to help solve some puzzles is a nice bonus.
You are the alchemist’s apprentice, and the story starts with you returning home to find your kingdom in disarray with castle guards and hulking golems dishing out unnecessary justice. What begins as a quest to overthrow the tyranny that has overrun the land turns into a tale of revelation, betrayal and sacrifice. While the plot is somewhat predictable, there are a couple of nice twists and turns, and it is written well enough that it held my attention. If it were fleshed out it would probably make a decent fantasy novel or even a movie for one of the streaming services. Plus, there’s a cool horned cat that could give Alice’s Cheshire a run for his money.
The game offers 3 default difficulty levels, or you can choose to tweak the eight elements that go into defining a difficulty setting on your own. You can also change the difficulty level at any point throughout the game. Multiple game saves are allowed so as long as you feel comfortable sharing your device several people can have their own progress. There are 13 achievements, and while the Game Center version gets recorded by the player that first completed it, each save slot has its own local copy of the achievements. The only thing I don’t like about the save slots is that it doesn’t tell you on the main screen which slot you’re using. Once the game has been completed for the first time you’ll be able to play all of the hidden object scenes and mini-games in the Extras section. You can also look at some concept art and re-watch the cut scenes if you so desire.
The game is primarily made up of object based puzzles, which is always my favorite part of this style of game anyway. As you might expect there will be some trudging back and forth to gather everything that is required to complete certain tasks, but depending on your difficulty settings you’ll always be able to look at the map to find out where something can still be done or found. Also, you can actually use the map to move between locations that have been discovered, which is honestly a feature that every adventure game should have. The mini-games are all pretty reasonable, but if you’re really not a fan you can skip them after a period of time. You just won’t be able to collect all the achievements. The hidden object scenes come in two flavors: in the first you have the standard list and you just find everything. In the second you’ll need to gather pieces and use them within the screen to solve mini-puzzles and reveal other pieces to find. The latter make certain parts of the game a bit more interesting, but the former could just have easily been done away with and not hurt the flow of the game any.
One interesting feature of the game is the ability to make mixtures. You find a recipe, gather the ingredients and then transmute them. The transmutation process is actually a mini-game where you have to align colored orbs around various orbits based on a pattern you are given. Like any other mini-game you can skip this process if you so desire, but for the most part they don’t take too long to master. Even the “difficult” ones are solvable with relative ease. I just like the fact that you actually have to do something in order to create your potions instead of simply combining them together to get your mixture.
Graphically Lost Grimoires is quite nice. The backgrounds are well drawn and at times almost look like paintings. For the most part it’s easy to tell what’s what in the hidden object scenes, though it can be a bit hard to determine what items you’re still looking for in the scenes where the item list is shown as objects instead of words. The one thing that wasn’t very consistent was the character drawings. Some looked really good, and others felt kind of forced and not really up to par with the rest of the visuals. The sound effects didn’t really make much of an impact, but the voices were well cast and just having voiceovers was nice. The music was pretty good and didn’t overwhelm the atmosphere, but unlike some other hidden object games I’ve played recently it wasn’t the kind of soundtrack where I felt I could just leave it playing while I went about doing other stuff.
I talked to a fellow adventure gamer before writing this review, and they seemed to feel Lost Grimoires was too quick and easy. Maybe it’s just the lack of time in my schedule speaking, but it seemed like a good length to me. The mini-games might have been a bit too easy, but for me that is not a bad thing because I don’t like to skip and I prefer to spend the bulk of my time on actual puzzles and storyline. This might not be the best offering in Artifex Mundi’s stable, but it’s certainly a solid one that’s worth exploring if you need a mobile adventure game fix. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next installment has to offer.
|Title:||Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom (Full)||Developer:||Artifex Mundi S.A.|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.3||Min OS Req:||iOS 7.0|