We here at Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are big fans of Artifex Mundi’s puzzle games. We’ve played all that have been released on Xbox One to date & you can check out the reviews for each one below:
Puzzle/Hidden object/Point & Click games at their core, they offer interesting stories, fun but challenging gameplay & pretty hand-drawn visuals. Each game so far has proven to be great value for money. The question is will Dark Arcana: The Carnival continue this streak?
The good news is that Artifex Mundi have done it again. Dark Arcana: The Carnival is a great addition to their library of games on Xbox One. Visually it is the most imaginative yet, with a few new ideas thrown in amongst the usual puzzle solving & hidden object searching mini-games.
In Dark Arcana, you take on the role of a female detective tasked with finding a missing woman who mysteriously vanished while in the carnival with her young daughter. With not much to go on you’ll have to explore the colourful & interesting attractions to try & find clues.
Eventually you’ll uncover a tragic story of lost love & dealings with the devil. There is an alternative world that exists behind the mirror, one where the answers to the mystery can be found.
Visually, there is no faulting Dark Arcana: The Carnival. It’s the most varied looking of all the Artifex Mundi games on the Xbox One to date. It’s eerie locations, colourful sights & attractions ensures you really take in the hard-drawn imagery way more than you might have in other releases.
For regulars, the gameplay is exactly as you would expect. For newcomers though, it is also very simple to get used too. The game is played from the first-person perspective & you move a cursor around the screen. You can pick up items & store them in your inventory (as always, every item you pick up will inevitably have a use somewhere else), transition between areas & solve puzzles.
Dark Arcana: The Carnival has a number of tricky puzzles that might leave you scratching your head. It’s definitely one of the more challenging titles & there is a lot of back-tracking later in the game but it never gets annoying.
The new addition of a little helper offers a little bit of variation in puzzle solving. A friendly monkey can be used to retrieve items that are out of reach. Should you really get stuck you do have the hint button option that recharges after a certain amount of time. The game directly discourages you from using it too much & it really won’t be much fun to play if you were too!
It can be completed in about 4-6 hours depending on your own pace but as always comes with an expert mode & an additional chapter. If there is one fault in Dark Arcana it is with the story. It’s good not great, it just doesn’t grip you & the characters are pretty bland.
Dark Arcana: The Carnival is still one of the strongest showings from Artifex Mundi to date. Pick it up, you won’t regret it.
Dark Arcana: The Carnival
The Final Score - 8.5/10