Eventide 2: Sorcerer’s Mirror is the latest PS4 release from Artifex Mundi – The name of this developer may not instantly jump out at you; however, if you have played any popular HOG (Hidden object game) on Steam, iOS, Android, Xbox One or PS4 then you have most likely played an Artifex Mundi title. Plus, this developer is one of the very few, on PS4, who actually have a demo of every single title they release, something which has long been forgotten since the 360 era, so you can always try before you buy – this is something a lot of companies could take note of, releasing a demo 6 months after release isn’t very helpful as we should have one day one!
Eventide 2, is clearly, a sequel to Eventide 1 (or Eventide: Slavic Fable to give it it’s full title) playing the original is not required (but I personally recommend it) as the Sorcerer’s Mirror doesn’t expand on the story of the previous game but rather introduces us to a new story with Mary, our main protagonist, and her Niece, Jenny. As soon as you begin the game you are introduced to both the protagonist and antagonist in a very dramatic turn of events, your niece is captured and you are dropped off a mountain all within the first four minutes of the game! Upon recovering you must now set off on a journey of fantasy and puzzles based on Slavic folklore and mythology.
Artifex Mundi games all have their own theme, Eventide is known for its re-telling of events and people based on Slavic heritage – in this case, we are looking at Pan Twardowski, a Polish man who sold his soul to the Devil in order to gain magical abilities. In this case, Pan is trying to raise his wife, Anna, from the dead by using Jenny as a sacrifice due to their likeness.
If you haven’t played an Artifex Mundi game before then I’ll explain the gameplay mechanics for you as some are the same in all their games and some differ. To begin with, you move around through static scenes, which usually have some sort of collectable or puzzle to find and solve on each screen. You don’t technically move about like you would in a first-person game, you have a reticule which you move around and basically point at what you wish to interact with. The puzzles and hidden object games are a major part of the gameplay mechanics, which I’ll get too soon; however, this game also offers choices which the player has direct control over – this is a new mechanic which I haven’t seen before in their games and is akin to Telltale’s The Walking Dead, only with a more simplistic result.
The puzzles you encounter have a decent variety, although not as much as some of their other titles which gives you a choice of what style of puzzle to play. There are plenty of hidden object puzzles, which are screens where you have a list of items at the bottom of the screen and you must find the item hidden above within the artwork – I sometimes find these a little tricky as different countries and languages may call something one thing, yet to us it is something else, so it may not be 100% clear what you are looking for sometimes. Thankfully I only encountered that once within Eventide 2 and I put that down to my own lack of knowledge! Also, Eventide 2 seems to have a lot of generalised finding segments, like ‘find twelve magical feathers’, which is great but I prefer looking for different items, but that’s just my own preference.
We have some puzzle styles returning from the previous games, one of which is finding the correct ingredients via solving quests for the townsfolk and hidden object segments so you can craft potions together and use them to progress the story – such as creating a sleeping powder to place on some meat to get past an evil dog. These are done really well as not only do you find the ingredients, but you are also given the steps to follow, like grate a root then crush a chestnut to mix together etc.
The big change though, as mentioned above, is the inclusion of a choice mechanic. I’ve not seen this in an Artifex Mundi game before (please correct me if I’m wrong) and it was actually a nice surprise. I have played the game twice, in order to pick both sets of choices, and the choices don’t change much – for example, at one point you can pick to lie or tell the truth to the Barkeep, if you lie you do a fetch quest for him or if you tell the truth you do one for a guy outside the bar – they both end up at the same conclusion though, it’s just a different path to get there. So they are very subtle changes, but the mechanic was great and really adds to its replayability – I hope more of their games will also adopt this in the future.
I thought the music really set the scene and fits each section perfectly (I’m still waiting for an Artifex Mundi soundtrack collection!) as the music is so soothing and relaxing, which is perfect in a game like this – it’s one that saves whenever you move to a new screen or do a puzzle, so you could pick it up for 10-15 mins then come back to it later without having to waste time looking for save points or worrying about getting stuck in a cut scene if you’re in a rush. The voice acting was hit and miss – most of them were really good, but there were a few voices which didn’t seem on-par with the others which is fully understandable as we aren’t talking about a $40m budget so there are bound to be some ups and downs.
Eventide 2: Sorcerer’s Mirror is an enjoyable casual game which will appeal to people of all ages (My mum loves these games and are literally the only games she plays on the PS4 I gave her). It sticks to the tried and tested formula of previous PS4 releases by Artifex Mundi, whilst innovating by changing things around and adding some new mechanics. This game and the others which they have also released are easy to recommend to anyone who enjoys puzzles and interesting stories and even those trophy hunters out there who like easy platinum trophies but also like playing decent games to obtain them.
Eventide 2: Sorcerer’s Mirror
- Very interesting story and characters with decent voice acting
- The music is very fitting and relaxing and beautiful background artwork
- The puzzle variety is good, most of them are not repeated
- Easily picked up and played by anyone, no matter what your gaming experience is
- There is a free demo on PS4 (maybe other platforms too) try before you buy
- No ‘Special Edition’ – no bonus mission on this game, unlike some the previous Artifex Mundi games
- It seemed like the hidden object segments took centre stage more than the puzzles in this title
- A lot of hidden object segments were generalised ones and not different items to find
- Some people may be put off by its simplistic gameplay