It’s been a long time coming, but Artifex Mundi fans can rejoice as the finale of the Enigmatis series finally comes to Xbox One. Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala begins by taking players back to Maple Creek where the series began. Players take on the role of the mysterious heroine, an unnamed detective who began the series in Maple Creek investigating a missing persons claim. This is where she first teamed up with Rick – who lost his lover mysteriously in Maple Creek – and began her investigation into the mysterious Preacher. Over the course of the trilogy, our detective and Rick have seen their mission go from a missing persons investigation to a full on effort to stop the Preacher from bringing Asmodi – the master of demons – to life. The latest clues have brought the detective and Rick to Tibet where they will finally face off with the Preacher once and for all.
As with all of the titles we see from Artifex Mundi, Enigmatis 3 is yet another hidden object puzzle adventure. Players point and click their way through a variety of beautifully illustrated scenes, hunting down key items and combining and manipulating the world in any way possible to solve puzzles. It is a formula that Artifex Mundi has undisputedly mastered, and yet despite the similarity between each of their titles they somehow manage to avoid creating games that feel repetitious. There’s always just enough change between each game so that it feels familiar, but unique. Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala takes this a step further and dares to increase the difficulty of the puzzles and hidden object sequences over its predecessors.
Even with the bump in difficulty, Enigmatis 3 can take more experienced HOP players approximately four to five hours to complete the main story. An additional bonus chapter that serves as a prequel detailing the role of the Tibetan Monks in protecting the world from Asmodi will take another hour to fully explore. Unfortunately, there is little for replayability in Enigmatis 3. In many other Artifex Mundi titles we see a little replay value being tucked in as a mini game alternative, such as mahjong, to the base game’s hidden object puzzles. While there is a mini game option for Enigmatis 3 it is a low key matching memory game. It’s not the most exciting or enjoyable mini game alternative, but it does serve its purpose.
The lack of a better HOP mini game alternative can be forgiving by Enigmatis 3’s use of the detective’s evidence board as a minigame. As players search the various scenes, they will discover evidence relating to the detective’s investigation of the Preacher and his motives to raise Asmodi. It is an interesting way to help players piece together the events of a story that has gone very far off from where it began. Enigmatis 3: The Shadow of Karkhala has managed to stay true to its roots as an Artifex Mundi title while also neatly tying up a shocking and chaotic story that is undeniably one of the best that we have seen come from this studio to date. The familiar gameplay is comfortable, while the increase in difficulty is enough to keep long time fans engaged without alienating newbies to the genre.