I think time travel appeals to everyone in a certain sense. Whether it would be to see how the pyramids and the colliseum were built or just to have a look in the medieval ages. Although I sincerely doubt most people would want to see this plague infested time when humans would be burnt alive for witchery and heresy. Time traveling keeps the greatest minds occupied and it even found its way to Hollywood. Back To The Future and Terminator are probably the most famous examples, but the topic has been used decades before that. In this review we will have a look at the spacetime continuum breaking adventure Time Mysteries 3.
The Final Enigma is the third and final part in the Time Mysteries series. The first part, Inheritance was released in 2010, and tells the story of Vivian Ambrose trying to rescue her father after he was abducted by a mysterious time traveler. The second part, The Ancient Spectres was released a year later in 2011 and involves Esther Ambrose. She inherits the Ambrose family’s mansion and discovers her family has been involved in time traveling for a long time. With this knowledge, she travels back in time to help the great magician Merlin defeat his rival Viviana. The third part dates from early 2013. Esther Ambrose will be entangled in another fight between Merlin and the presumed to be defeated Viviana. All parts in the series are developed and published by Artifex Mundi and are available for download on Steam.
The family mansion has collapsed in the final battle against Viviana. You were rescued by your uncle Sean who took care of you until you recovered. Now you are plagued by nightmares of Viviana calling out for help. The story starts in your room, when you look out of the window and see a mysterious dark clothed person in the shadows of the night. A messenger knocks on the door bringing you a message from your uncle. On your way to your uncle you’ll see newspaper articles about sightings of a dark figure and Viviana throughout London. Once you reach your uncle’s house you see the mysterious person casting some sort of spell. When he sees you he turns into a mist hovering to the alley around the corner. Determined to catch him, you follow him in to the alley only to see him vanish into a dark cloud while a swarm of crows comes your way. Worried about your uncle, you commit some breaking and entering to see if he is alright. Here is where your time traveling adventures begin; Going to the past, the future and unknown times, trying to help Merlin and change a possible grim future. Basic game play in this adventure is point and click with hidden object scenes and mini puzzles. I can say this was my hardest adventure so far out of the Artifex Mundi stables, but I also have to add that I always play them on expert mode. A couple of times I’ve been stuck for a while and that’s exactly how I like it, mainly to discover the next location I could interact with. The puzzles and hidden object scenes themselves are relatively easy. Unfortunately this title doesn’t have any collectibles, which is something I enjoy to the fullest and probably is the hardest achievement in many of their adventures. Sound is pretty good, beautiful music but it does get repetitive, a bit more variation would be nice and good sound effects. Voices aren’t always the best I’ve heard, since they lack emotion, but in general they aren’t bad. Graphics surprised me at first. Although the backgrounds and cut scenes look good, the lip syncing of some of the characters in the game is just horrible, in fact I’ve seen Achmed the dead terrorist do better lip syncing.
This is probably the hardest thing to create, but after seeing gems like Enigmatis 2 and Nightmares From The Deep, I asked myself “what happened, Artifex Mundi?” I found my answer after some time on the web. The games aren’t released in chronological order on Steam. The title’s ideas and development likely started back in 2010. So rather than to keep dwelling on this I applaud them for the advancement and progression they made in development, and hopefully they keep making more games. Final thought: although the artwork and sound aren’t as flawless as their later games, which is only natural, this is a good casual adventure game. A definite must have for the fans and recommended to everyone who likes an adventure game that won’t make your brain hurt while offering a challenge. You can save some money and get the complete Time Mysteries collection here.
Overall score 3.0/5.0