With the third entry to the Eventide series, The House of Fables and Artifex Mundi put players in the shoes of world renowned botanist Mary Gilbert. Mary’s adventure thus far has lead her to come to terms with not only the existence of magic in the world, but within herself, as well. Mary’s brother, John, does not seem to be grasping this new found reality, however, and is struggling to accept magic as part of his life. Mary’s story begins with her and John caring for a magical fern that is in their position following the events of the previous Eventide games, but there is trouble on the horizon. A mysterious storm bringing thunder, wind, snow, and even ice despite the summertime setting strikes the siblings’ home, causing destruction and bringing along fantastical beasts known as Zmeys. The Zmeys abduct John, carrying him away to a city of islands in the sky.
With the help of a whimsical, purple owl like beast named Aitvar, Mary must come to the rescue of her brother while using a healthy combination of magic and science to forge an alliance with a thunder god with the hopes of putting a stop to the wicked plans of an evil sorcerer. It’s a pretty standard formula that we’ve come to know and love from Artifex Mundi, with little in the way of deviation. The story as a whole is lightly built upon slavic lore, which may actually be to blame for one of the most disappointing endings we’ve been offered in one of these titles. Mary is the protagonist of the entire series. Every victory is a result of her masterful control of botany and magic, and yet when the game comes to a close she is not the character who receives the reward for her efforts. It was a depressingly anticlimactic ending to an otherwise enjoyable series.
Like it’s predecessors, Eventide 3: Legacy of Legends is a point and click adventure that is stuffed to the brim puzzles both in the form of mini games and as hidden object searches. Each scene is beautifully illustrated to accentuate the feel of the fantasy setting. Players will need to move from scene to scene collecting key items to activate minigames and puzzles to progress through the story. While Artifex Mundi titles are notorious for scenes that are awe inspiring, Eventide 3 goes above and beyond to showcase a vibrant world among the clouds. Even in areas that are supposed to be a little darker, gritty, or gloomy the world was still vibrantly colored and well lit with mystical crystals and glowing flora.
Eventide 3 does have some shortcomings compared to other Artifex Mundi titles. Most notably is the absence of a bonus chapter. Typically, Artifex Mundi titles will unlock the bonus chapter after the completion of the main campaign to give players additional info ether as a prequel or by glimpsing into supporting characters lives. Likewise, the optional mini game to replace the HOPs – usually mahjong or a memory game – are also missing from Eventide 3. While this isn’t the first title to forgo these little extras, their absence is disappointing. Eventide 3 does have a slightly longer run time than other Artifex Mundi titles, closing in on the 6-8 hour range for finishing the campaign on Expert difficulty.
Despite the changes and the lackluster conclusion to the series, Eventide 3 is still a gorgeous and enjoyable fantasy adventure. The puzzles are all intuitive, and fans of Artifex Mundi games will recognize most of the mini games as ones they’ve encountered in the publisher’s other titles. Artifex Mundi recently had a snafu with customers who were displeased to discover that the publisher had increased the prices of their games, not only on new titles coming out but also on previously released games, as well. Artifex Mundi’s excuse for this price jump was so that they could provide higher quality games in the future, and the Eventide 3 does show that those efforts are coming to fruition. Many of the facial animations that would have been awkward in the past are now smooth and more suited to the quality of the rest of the game.