Lost Grimoires 2: Shard of Mystery in Review: A New Chapter In The Saga
The tale of Lost Grimoires continues… sort of. Like many of the popular Big Fish Games franchises, the only thing this has in common with its predecessor is the name, at least as far as I can tell. That’s okay, because it’s a decent game in its own right, with most of the same features that made the first installment of the series worth playing. I didn’t find the story quite as compelling, but that didn’t bother me too much either. If you’re into adventure games with hidden object scenes and the occasional mini game, Lost Grimoires 2 will make another worthy addition to your collection.
Much like the first Grimoires, the plot is a bit cliché. An evil sorceress is defeated and sent to another dimension where she eventually coaxes someone into helping her try and get back to your realm. And of course it’s up to you to straighten everything out and make sure that doesn’t happen. There aren’t really any twists and turns like in the first game, though the ending definitely sets things up for continuing adventures. There were a couple of main characters besides yourself and the villain, and I was a bit disappointed that you never got to play as either of them – I actually thought that was coming at one point in the game. While I’d still be happy to revisit this franchise in the future, I actually hope that they take a cue from the first two games and actually present a completely different set of characters for part three. I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing a character from one of the first two games make a cameo, however.
Just like its predecessor, the focus of Lost Grimoires 2 was object based puzzles, which is just fine with me. I love hidden object sequences and sometimes appreciate the mini-games, but in the end it’s the exploration and advancement through collecting and using items that is the most entertaining. As for the other two game types, I actually found this outing to be a bit of a reversal from last time. While not a big fan of object lists comprised of silhouetted pictures, as it is often hard to determine what objects you’re looking for, I rather enjoyed the hidden object scenes this time around. On the other hand, while I appreciate that the developers attempted to do something different with the mini-games, I often found them cumbersome and in one instance felt like the game just let me complete the sequence for the sake of being done rather than because I actually did anything right. There was one fun mini-game where you had to secure corridors in overhead maps of a castle by placing soldiers in appropriate spots, but for the most part I could have done without the mini-games in this adventure.
The alchemy is back, which I assume is going to be a staple of the series. This time, however, the mini-game to cement each spell has been changed to a basic “match the elements” style puzzle. While more simplistic in nature, it still makes you do something to earn that spell, and it provides a nice diversion from everything else you’re doing in the game. One other feature that I must point out that I’m so thankful for is the ability to navigate to any room I’ve already visited via the map that you find early on in the game. This game doesn’t have nearly as many locations as some I’ve played recently, but I’d still rather focus my time on actually solving puzzles than traipsing back and forth through multiple locations I’ve seen numerous times. On the flip side, I really wish adventure games would stop with the “find THIS object in every scene” mechanic. I don’t know why developers think that’s entertaining, but it often becomes a mild obsession that doesn’t pay off when you realize you missed the object in just one scene and therefore didn’t complete your goal.
The main reward for the game, like with most adventure games, is in actually completing the game and seeing how you’ve affected whatever situation you’re dealing with. Sadly, like with many other adventure games, the conclusion to this one definitely wasn’t its strongest point, but at least I had the satisfaction of seeing the game through to the end. Of course for those of you who aren’t satisfied with that, there are 12 achievements to earn (naturally one of which is finding all the instances of the hidden object, which in this case is a rose). They are recorded in Game Center for posterity’s sake on a first come, first serve basis, but each profile has its own local set of achievements. The first time you complete the game you’ll also unlock an extras section, which primarily consists of… a sampling of the game you just played? I suppose it might be nice to go back and play select hidden object scenes or mini-games without replaying the entire game, and watching the cutscenes again could be interesting, but truth be told the only real “extra” I saw in this section was the Concept Art, which I actually wish they would have had more of. Rather than just rehash the game I already finished, it would be nice if this section were filled with new hidden object scenes, different mini-games, or better yet a small secondary adventure to play through.
Lost Grimoires 2 was visually appealing. The backdrops and hidden object scenes were well drawn, and some of the mini-games looked really cool. Surprisingly enough, the character models were even decently rendered for the most part, which isn’t always the case in this type of game. The animation of the various characters felt rather stiff, but in the end the graphics were pretty polished. The sound effects were decent enough, with more than adequate voice acting for most of the characters. I was slightly disappointed with the music. It’s not that the soundtrack isn’t good, but in many adventure games the music is one of the highlights, often to the point where I like to sit and listen to it even when I’m not playing the game. In this case, I honestly had to start the game over and consciously listen to really notice the background music.
I rather enjoyed the original Lost Grimoires and was excited to take on the sequel. For the most part it didn’t disappoint, though in typical franchise fashion it wasn’t quite as strong as the first one. The biggest drawbacks were a weaker story and mini-games that were more frustrating than fun for the most part. The “extras” certainly didn’t do much to sweeten the pot either. In the end, Lost Grimoires 2 was a solid follow-up that kept my attention but didn’t wow me in any way. I’m still game for a third go around in this universe, but hopefully it will reverse the quality course and maybe even surpass the original.
|Title:||Lost Grimoires 2: Shard of Mystery||Developer:||Artifex Mundi S.A.|
|Reviewed Ver:||1.0.2||Min OS Req:||iOS 7.0|