Many stories from folklore start with a spurned lover, and Artifex Mundi dont break from convention when they crafted their dark, medievel puzzle adventure game, Grim Legends : The Forsaken Bride.
Your story begins returning to your home village, after many years absence, in order to attend the wedding of your twin sister. Events begin to take a distinctly fairy tale turn when a bear frightens your carriage horse off the narrow winding forest track to leave it dangling precariously above a chasm.
Aiding your father in recovering the carriage you finally make it to the village only for the same bear to strike again, this time absconding with your sister as his captive. As the villagers take arms to recover your sister Lilly, you too must ready yourself to venture into the woods and uncover the whereabouts of your sibling while also investigating the legend of the bear and why it took your sister.
Grim Legends is first and foremost an adventure game at its core with as much in common with classics such as Lure of the Temptress, Secret of Monkey Island, or Loom as its modern inclination strikes a common theme with recent mobile games focusing on hidden objects, pattern recognition and problem solving puzzles.
Each of the still screen’s presented to you as you progress through the game has a simple item interaction, with a clearly defined path as to how a particular level can be traversed. Whether this is combining items with the environment to progress or mixing items to create a required artifact. Although the settings is fantastical, each of the solutions are both logical and sensible within the context of the world you inhabit.
Gameplay is relatively simple, and when not pointing, clicking and combining, some items can only be retrieved by completing a specific puzzle. These are frequent and varied enough to generate a decent change of pace in the game without feeling contrived or forced. There are a large variation of logic puzzles throughout the game that never once repeat, and although there are numerous hidden items puzzles, which come in two distinct styles, these are so interspersed that the repetition of this style of puzzle never becomes cumbersome or annoying.
As you progress deeper and deeper into the story, and unlock more of the environment, you will find yourself needing to return to earlier areas in order to once again utilise certain beneficial or interactive parts of the environment, or even returning to solve a puzzle that you may have left behind earlier in the game. This multiple stage interaction is normally logical, although not always obvious at first sight. To this end, the game has a very generous hint system that can be used to point you in the right direction, or even specifically locate a solution should you wish.
Early in the game you acquire a companion, a small kitten who accompanies you on your adventure. Decent audio cues in the game easily identify times at which your small familiar may be of use to you, though it does not straight up tell you how your kitten should be used unless you use the hint system in conjunction.
Finally, dotted throughout the world are collectables. These appear as fairy statues that are hidden in the scenes or alternatively story related artefacts that are typically unlocked by solving puzzles that are not essential to the overall story progression, so it is well worth taking your time to investigate your surroundings should the need arise in you.
These collectables add an element of replayability to the title, that would otherwise be absent. Even without this replay value, there is a fair amount of game for you to play. For the puzzle minded, this should last about 6-8 hours for the main story, and when completed a further series of additional levels are unlocked giving several more hours of gameplay for your money. Each of these are finely crafted with the distinct animated style and dark brooding environments that give the game its old world folklore feel.
The story may seem a bit vanilla, but given the fairy tale nature of the world, it is hard to stray far from curses, haunted woods, class division, and parables that make up the building blocks of your Grimm-esque fairy tale. That being said, it is a testament to the crafting and story telling involved in this world that by the end I did feel I had experienced a somewhat unique story, no matter how many similarities I can draw with its inspiration.