I think it’s easy to say that Artifex Mundi is currently the most prominent developer of point and click adventure games on the Xbox One. Since this is the case, I feel like it’s difficult to judge exactly how these games should be or what players should expect from them. With that said, I am lucky that this game is a sequel and I can use the first game to help me judge this one. For any players that have played Artifex Mundi’s games before, it is easy to say that this game is very similar to previous titles.
With each game Artifex Mundi releases, I keep hoping that one will stand out and be better than the rest. Unfortunately, even if Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call isn’t worse than any of the other games like it, it just doesn’t do anything great enough to stand out. The gameplay is simple point and click with hidden object puzzles (that can be swapped out for Mahjong games) and scenes where you must combine items in order to get the one item you really need. Other than these puzzles, there are plenty of puzzles that require players to rearrange items to complete a whole image or items that require players to backtrack in order to use them. Basically, this is all very normal for these types of game.
There are plenty of good and bad things with these kinds of games. One of the most prevalent must be the story we’re meant to follow as we complete puzzles. Some people may not mind how careful the story is and how flat the characters in the game truly are. Personally, I prefer my characters deep and complex, but maybe I’m asking too much from such a small title. It isn’t really helped by the fact that the most important NPC is almost always referred to as ‘my ally’.
If these details don’t show how unimportant the story is, I don’t know what will get that point across. There is a world to explore with a few characters to talk to but truthfully, the best part of these games is always the puzzles. These puzzles help to distract from the ‘blah’ story or the over the top (and near jump scare inducing) reveals that the game relies on to get the ‘seriousness’ of the situation across. I understand that the game is designed to put the puzzles first, but I still feel as if we should have more of a reason to do them. Since the game doesn’t have a lot of real animation, I don’t think it’s much to ask a little more from the writing in the game.
Even if there is little animation, this game does look pretty good and is combined with some alright voice acting (better than some previous titles at least). Unlike a lot of other games released at such a low price point, I didn’t encounter any glitches or game breaking bugs. I have to admit that I was able to get around the game quickly and without issue from beginning to end.
With the game only being a few hours long (at tops) and the story being as basic as it is, I feel like I can’t talk about much without making it near pointless to play the game. To remedy this, let me say that if you like puzzles and don’t mind (or even enjoy) the point and click style, you’ll probably find that you like this game (and the other games just like it). I don’t think there is any other way to say it, Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call is just as good as most of games from the same vein.
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