Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom features most of the major hallmark elements that players picking up a point and click adventure with the Artifex Mundi name on it would come to expect. There are over 30 hand drawn scenes to explore, a fully voice acted female lead that is both capable and competent, and an intriguing story of magic and mystery for players to wrap their heads around. While that may seem pretty cut and dry, there are a few missteps from Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom, as well…
Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom puts players in control of a young, unnamed Alchemist who has just returned home from school. She is greeted by the Master Alchemist, a family friend whom she refers to as “uncle”, that raised her following her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance when she was a child. Shortly after her arrival, our heroine finds herself tracking down a masked intruder that is searching her family home for a mysterious amulet. This conspicuously timed meeting sets the stage for the protagonist to go on an epic quest to save the Kingdom, uncovering twists and turns all the way up to the unfortunately predictable boss fight at the end.
The game features two game play modes – Casual and Expert – that only have minor differences between them. Casual players can use their maps to determine which areas of the world they may still have actions to complete, whereas maps for players on Expert difficulty are much more scarce with details. Additionally, Hidden Object Puzzle sequences (frequently referred to as HOPs) do not penalize Casual players for multiple misclicks. Expert players that get click happy in a desperate attempt to locate an elusive object inside of a HOP will find that their screen’s corners disappear into a cloudy, purple haze and they are blocked from clicking again for a moment.
In addition to the lack of penalties for in game mistakes, the entirety of Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom’s game play is easy to the point being too easy. There’s very little movement between environments, so what you’re missing can almost always be found in the room you’re in with little to no reason to explore more than one or two rooms away at any point. While these point and click adventure games typically rely on HOPs for players to find critical items needed to progress, Lost Grimoires is surprisingly light on them. There are only around four HOPs total, and none of them require extensive searching or use multiple steps for finding more elusive items. There are also no mini game alternatives for the HOPs, such as mahjong or dominoes, as is often available in other adventure/HOP titles. While the absence of alternative mini games to the HOPs is noticeable, Lost Grimoires does throw in a new element of play with its Alchemy puzzles. While exploring, players will come across the occasional scroll that contains the ingredient list for a spell. Ingredients for these spells used with the Alchemist’s grimoire, and then transmuted into whatever potion the were for. In order to transmute the ingredients, a mini game becomes available where players must rotate rings to align a group of jumbled elements to resemble the guide from the grimoire. The potion making mini game is a nice addition, and fits the theme and plot of the game over all.
Established fans of Artifex Mundi titles expecting to unlock a bonus chapter upon completion of the main campaign may find themselves a bit disappointed with Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom. Once the game is done, its done for good, and there’s not any good reason to replay again. Despite its shortcomings and predictability, Lost Grimoires does have its pluses and it is ultimately still an enjoyable game that is accessible to even the most casual players.