Another Artifex Mundi game, another chilled out relaxing platinum trophy. In the overwhelming bog of triple-A titles being released, it’s nice now and again to relax and play something simple and easy going. I do like these games between big, all-encompassing titles because they don’t take too much time and commitment to finish. I am still playing Sekiro and after a really difficult boss or a really tricky section of the game, it’s nice to sit back, solve small puzzles and relax. No worrying about attack patterns, upgrade paths or combat systems. Just solve point and click scenarios and enjoy the journey.
The story in the latest Artifex Mundi game is a simple one. It’s Paris, it’s the year 1900 and some sinister force kidnaps the greatest minds on the planet from the world expo. You play Emily Patterson, the daughter of one of the kidnapped scientists and must use your wits and nous to get to the root of the mystery and save the day. You meet great characters that help you on your quests such as Coco Chanel, Albert Einstein and Ferdinand Porsche. What unfolds is a tale of intrigue, technology and evil adversaries.
The gameplay for anyone who has not played one of these games before is very simple. For the main part it’s a standard point and click adventure, you collect items and you must combine and use them to progress through the story. What I do like though is that it all makes sense. A lot of point and click games are very abstract and it’s to their detriment. In Artifex Mundi titles all the gameplay makes sense, you use the items exactly where you think you would and it’s all very self-explanatory.
Peppered through the game are hidden object games and puzzles to solve. Again, these are all quite simple but nice and rewarding to solve. All the puzzles are easy to understand and not overly complicated, most players will have no issues with these perplexities and they do break up the point and click stuff nicely. In previous titles you could swap out the hidden object puzzles for mahjong games but this feature is missing from this instalment. This does not bother me in the slightest but it may bother some. In fact, trophy wise, it makes it easier as you only have to do one playthrough.
The art style is one of the things I really like about these games, they all have a hand-drawn fantasy look to them. They are bright, bold and well illustrated. The animations, however, are a bit dated. Everything moves in stages and can sometimes look weird but it has a certain style to it and I like it. The artwork and style of games like this are rare these days, it’s all 2D, hand made and really striking. In a world of 3D, realistic graphics it’s delightful to see. Both the gameplay and graphics remind me of times gone by and that’s not a bad thing at all.
The sound of Modern Tales is good, while not being striking or unique in any way. It does its job well. Some of the voice acting can be a bit off but it’s rare and not too noticeable. The soundtrack is soothing and helps with the relaxed pace of the game. The music and sound effects do a good job of accentuating the poignant parts of the story and the high tension gameplay segments. It will not make anyone’s music playlist but it’s nice enough to hear while playing through this short game.
As everyone knows this is the performance section that usually sits at the end of my reviews. However, in all the Artifex Mundi games I have played I have had zero issues whatsoever. I have played a lot of these games and cannot report a single issue. I know they are simple games with simple graphics but they just work and that’s a credit to the developers.
If you have played an Artifex Mundi game before, this iteration is exactly what you would expect. Its great art style is still pleasing on the eye and I do love the hand-drawn storybook style graphics. To newcomers, it’s puzzles and gameplay are simple, engaging and not overly complex. Some point and click games are prone to making their puzzles to abstract and you end up looking on the internet for solutions, that’s not the case here and it’s refreshing. The sound design is serviceable and the performance of the game is flawless.
For its price, it’s a small bit of fun to tide you over until the next big release. It’s nice to play a game that is simple, not bogged down by heavy systems and can be completed in under 5 hours. For trophy hunters, it’s a nice easy one, as I said earlier only one playthrough is required compared to the normal two. I enjoyed it, it was a nice break from Sekiro but it will not be everyone’s cup of tea due to it’s slower pace and low difficulty. If you want a chilled out point and click game that’s cheap and cheerful, this game could be for you.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*