Abyss: the Wraiths of Eden is a Hidden Object Puzzle Adventure (HOPA) game for the iPad and iPhone; it is available from the Apple App store. It’s developer is Artifex Mundi / G5 Entertainment.
● 40 dazzling and exotic underwater locations
● 16 unique hidden object scenes to search
● 22 mini-games, including an unusual Domino game
● Three difficulty modes: casual, advanced and expert
● In-depth Strategy Guide
● Game Center Support
● iPhone 5 support
Major features: As I mentioned in my Dark Arcana review, most hidden object games fall into either crime mysteries or dramatic stories involving the supernatural. Once again developer Artifex Mundi and publisher G5 Entertainment take us on a journey into the dark realms of the supernatural! This time we go underwater to the hidden world of Eden.
Eden is an idyllic Utopia – or at least that was the plan. Something went awry, which you discover as you seek to rescue your fiance, the explorer Robert Marceau. Everyone else has presumed him dead, but you know better. But as you start to find clues you get entwined in the mystery that has captured him. Only through your ingenuity can you free yourself, Robert and the survivors of Eden.
Eden will remind games somewhat of Rapture from the game Bioshock, which really helped to draw me in. The story is very different, but the mix of underwater utopia and the art-deco styling was a great nod to that game.
The gameplay is exactly what we would expect from a genre game and from Artifex Mundi. You have a combination of hidden object scenes, collectible items in explorable areas, and puzzles. The object scenes always relate to what is going on and result in you finding a critical item. There is challenge but the scenes are never very difficult.
The puzzles run the gamut from image assembly to flow mapping to level manipulation and more. Some of these are rather tricky and can take a while to solve, but they are also quite rewarding.
If you can’t solve the puzzles, there is a skip option that appears – but your achievements will be penalized for doing so. Also, if you want to skip a hidden object scene you can play a mini-game.
The hint system is tied to difficulty, so in general if you feel stuck you can grab a quick hint to send you in the right direction. There were a couple of occasions where the hints were not helpful, and I found the bext way was to move half-way across the map and use the directional hints to get myself back on course. Speaking of ‘halfway across the map’, the good news is that you get a great map with all locations and loads of details … the bad news is there is no fast travel so you need to do way enough backtracking in the course of solving puzzles that it becomes annoying.
Overall the game is solid fun with a decent story and loads of fun that will last at least a few hours and still have you wanting to expplore the extras and the prequel chapter.
Ease of use/Overall performance: If you are a fan of the hidden object genre, you will have no problem jumping right in and enjoying this game to the fullest. The difficulty levels will determine how forgiving and helpful the game is with hints, ‘item frob’ and other highlighting to help you on your way.
The graphics in the game are extremely well done and work great on the iPhone as well as iPad. There is considerable animation for all of the environments, so that in each scene you will see bubbles and fish and so on. But best of all you get characters who are 3D animated as they speak to you. The lip-syncing is generic, but it is a nice touch to have ‘living’ characters around you as you explore.
Would use again/recommend?: Absolutely! There are three difficulty levels, many ‘extras’ and an overall sense of fun that makes this a ‘keeper’. The extra ‘prequel’ chapter of the Collector’s Edition is very well done and worth playing, and the parallel to Bioshock made it even more fun to explore the world. Definitely worth checking out!
Suggested changes/wish list for updates: Faster travel between areas would lessen the tedium of constant backtracking. Occasionally it isn’t clear where to go next, and the hints are little help.
Here is the trailer: