Rating : 7/10
Don’t you just hate it when you’re out rock-climbing with your niece and she gets kidnapped by a crazy wizard who wants to try and resurrect his dead neglected wife? That’s the story behind The House of Fables’ Eventide 2: The Sorcerer’s Mirror, which is a strange mix of adventure game and hidden object game.
The game is set out by a series of different areas that have a variety of puzzles that you need to solve to move into the next one. This allows developer House of Fables to make a story that is more involved than a series of hidden object puzzles that don’t have much to link them. Aiding this is the series of cutscenes, though these are pretty janky: the people move very robotically, their lip syncing is very wooden and the magical effects don’t really fit in with the rest of the animation style.
The main focus of Eventide 2 is the hidden object puzzles, which come in three varieties: a classical “here’s a list, find these things”, a slight variance that shows you an image of what you’re looking for and a “find x amount of this thing”. The first is used to find a specific item in an environment, the second is to find pieces of quest items that you then assemble and the third is to gather ingredients for the crafting system.
The crafting system is based mostly around herbs and healing remedies, so you’ll be locating mushrooms and plants and then combining them in your inventory. These are very specific, and you get a list each time that you have to make a recipe. The exceptions to this are the few times you need to either break something or repair tools, though this involves either just clicking a lot or dragging a pole to a tool head.
To mix up the tried-and-tired hidden object gameplay, some of the hidden objects are actually hidden behind other things, or are in locked boxes. The game tells you which objects you can’t see by highlighting its name, and there’s normally only a couple in each section. These added an extra layer of thought, but become somewhat obvious as the cursor changes when you hover over something you can move.
There’s a variety of other puzzles to fill in the gaps, though none of them are especially taxing or original. Eventide 2 holds your hand throughout, and the only puzzles that are reused are object identification puzzles that ask you to click on the symbol that represents a word. At the first two difficulty levels you can skip these if you wish, and you don’t really miss anything if you came for hidden object.
Eventide 2 has moral choices throughout, and it claims that it makes a difference to the story but it doesn’t really. It is a case of choosing to be an honest, helpful, nice person or an asshole, but both seem to be means to a similar end. There are also two types of collectibles hidden throughout the game, handheld mirrors and imp cards. The cards are pretty easy to spot, but the mirrors blend in rather well with a lot of the scenes.
Eventide 2: The Sorcerer’s Mirror was a little more than I expected: it’s been many years since I last played a hidden object game and I didn’t think that the genre would have moved on as much as it has. The writing was obviously translated into English, and the voice acting matches the odd look of the cutscenes, but the gameplay is amusing for the two hours there and it has a satisfying conclusion. The addition of adventure game mechanics really increased my enjoyment and I’d be really interested to see this taken further into a longer game.
A Hidden Object-cum-Adventure game with interesting puzzles, let down by its length and janky-looking cutscenes.
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