You play Scarlett Everitt, an apprentice alchemist who has just finished 5 years at university and is returning home only to find that things have changed considerably in her absence. Keen to start working under the local master alchemist, you instead suffer an encounter with a mysterious stranger which triggers flashbacks to memories of your missing parents, and this is where the game starts. If it all sounds a little familiar, well that’s because it very much is.
Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom, developed by World-Loom, is a puzzle adventure game set in a steampunk era. The game was originally released on mobile devices back in November last year, and has recently been ported over consoles. The game sets you to task exploring scenes to seek out items in order to help you progress through the world. Sticking to the alchemy theme, this usually is focused around finding the ingredients so that you can concoct your next potion. Despite what you might expect initially, potions are only single use and can only be used in one specific place to progress the story. It’s very ordered, with each item retrieved and used in an immediate and linear fashion, hence there isn’t any real need to think much about how or when to use an item.
Certain items or potions once used will unlock a puzzle, which you’ll need to solve to progress. Puzzles come in one of 3 distinct types. The first sees you search a scene for a selection of items required to complete a task, for example to process the ingredients that you need to create your next potion. Once you have all the ingredients for a potion, you’ll encounter the games second puzzle type which sees you trying to align elements into a specific molecular structure using a series or rotating discs. The final puzzle type is more specific, such as placing different sized cogs into place to repair a broken clockwork machine, or pressing the correct buttons based on some moving imagery on the screen. Overall they pose little challenge, and if you do find yourself a little stuck the game provides a ‘skip’ feature which you can use to bypass anything you find tricky. Those desiring something a little more challenging might want to try out the games expert mode, which removes the visual cues, hints and ability to skip puzzles but overall the linear flow of the game ensures that trial and error is more prominent in progressing over application of wit.
The game world itself is sparsely populated with people, hence interaction with characters is little and limited to a handful of conversations that help to edge the games story forward. Conversations are voiced, but sadly the voice acting is devoid of any emotion or feeling and as such does little to draw in the player. Considering that the game is also subtitled, it would have been much better to leave the voice overs out all together.
The games real strong-point is it’s artwork, which as you can see from the images accompanying this are a fantastic selection of carefully hand drawn scenes, each packed full of subtle little detail which is really befitting of the games setting. This remains consistent throughout the game, evoking memories of the artwork you used to get in some simpler books from your childhood.
Beyond the monotonous voice acting there isn’t really anything bad to say about the game, but equally there isn’t much to say on the positive side either. The game is simple, safe and on the whole easy. It doesn’t do anything new, and compared to other games in the genre suffers from an underwhelming story and a structure that is far too linear. To sum things up, it’s a polished, pretty looking short experience that fails to have any lasting impression and is never anything more than OK.
Lost Grimoires: Stolen Kingdom was provided to us by Xbox via a digital code for Xbox One.