Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden is a return to Artifex Mundi’s roots, bringing back the classic HOP experience we all know and love. The last few titles to be released under the Artifex Mundi banner have been developed by various other studios and as such they had attempted to switch up the hidden object puzzle game formula that Artifex Mundi is known for. Eventide 2, for example, included a handful of morality choices that could affect the final battle of the game. While none of these games were less enjoyable because of these changes, they were still noticeable in how they affected game play. Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden, however, returns to that tried and true formula of Artfiex Mundi hat we’ve seen in other titles such as Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink.
Our adventure begins with a female protagonist – a staple in Artifex Mundi titles – whose fiancee, Robert, has gone missing during a deep sea diving adventure. Dissatisfied with official rescue attempts to find Robert, our heroine takes it upon herself to dive into the ocean to uncover the mystery of her missing lover in the midst of a dangerous storm. As her search begins, she is led by a trail of glow sticks, left behind by Robert to aid her, to a once glorious underwater city called Eden. Eden has long since fallen into disarray, and it is up to the player to use some creative ingenuity to get into the city.
Once inside Eden, players must search for key items and hidden objects in each scene to uncover puzzles that progress the story. Artifex Mundi titles are known for their beautiful and atmospheric hand drawn scenes, and Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden is no exception to that rule. Though it is worth noting that some of the game’s cut scenes are not as smoothly animated as other Artifex Mundi titles. This is particularly notable in scenes with dialogue, as the animations for speaking do not sync properly with the voice overs due to being translated.
Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden does have a slightly longer run time than its predecessors spanning about 8 hours in play time for those who want to complete everything. The game can be played on casual mode where the hidden object puzzles are highlighted in a scene by sparkles, the map marks where actions are available, and there is no punishment for clicking erratically while searching for an item. Or it can be played on expert difficulty, which removes the aforementioned sparkles and map markers, and also adds in a moment where the scene becomes a ‘blur’ during hidden object scenes if you miss click too many times. In addition to the two difficulty settings, Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden allows players to swap out the hidden object scenes with a game of dominoes. The scene will be replaced with a board that has emblems randomly placed around it. Players then must match the ends of dominoes to cover those emblems to solve the puzzle.
Once the story of Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden has been completed, a bonus chapter becomes available to play which includes a look into the earlier days of Eden through the eyes of Uncle Greg, a member of the small group of resistance that helps players in the main campaign. The bonus chapter also features the same casual and expert difficulties as the base game.
Artifex Mundi knows what they’re doing when it comes to the hidden object puzzle genre, and while their games may follow a similar formula it works in their favor. I know what I’m getting when I launch an Artifex Mundi game, a few hours of relaxing game play with engaging puzzles set in a beautiful and atmospheric world.