When I got wind of another Artifex Mundi iOS release, I have to say I was delighted. The developer’s previous two releases – Nightmares from the Deep and most recently, Dark Arcana – have both scored fully deserved 4 out of 5. Both those games followed a similar pattern, namely having high quality graphics and a good balance between puzzles and hidden object scenes. Abyss: the Wraiths of Eden also follows in the same vein with a dark and mysterious theme, this time deep underwater.
The story follows the path of a famed underwater explorer Robert Marceau who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. You control his fiancé as she discovers and explores the lost underwater city of Eden looking for clues as to where Robert might be. Unfortunately for Robert, The underwater city is not looked after by sexy mermaids tending to his every need, but instead controlled by demons who would like to do somewhat more unsettling acts.
For a game set deep below the ocean, most of the action takes place indoors. I think this is a pretty sensible choice, as continuous watery scenes would soon become tiresome. In all there are 40 different locations to travel to and fro – and that’s something you’ll end up doing quite a bit as you pick up items to use in other locations.
Whilst you would probably still describe the game as a hidden object adventure, the truth is that hidden object scenes do not make up the bulk of the action. In fact, they are treated more as a mini-game and as such do not overstay their welcome. You’ll spend most of your time in Eden collecting useful items that can be used elsewhere. Often when it comes to using an item, you’ll need to work out a puzzle of some kind to progress. The puzzles are nicely presented and show a bit of creativity, even if most of them are variations of some you’ve no doubt seen before.
The in game map is mighty useful, as you might expect. As before in previous Artifex Mundi’s games, areas where you can perform an action are highlighted with a nice bold yellow exclamation mark, so you’re never left to wander around aimlessly. If you’re totally stuck, there is also a strategy guide available at all times just a click away in the tools menu.
Once again, Artifex Mundi has come up with a fine example of how to do the HOG genre justice. Everything looks nice and atmospheric with plenty of spooky stuff going on. The puzzles are difficult enough to give you a challenge and you aren’t bombarded with constant (or repeated) hidden object screens. It’s well worth giving a go if you’re curious about the genre and of course fans will find much to be delighted about. My only slight concern is that this is very much ‘by the numbers’ with regards to how the game is played out in comparison to the previous two releases. But you can’t really grumble too much about that.
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