Remember those "Hidden Picture" books, where clever artists would hide various objects inside a scene and you'd need to hunt them down? Fun times. This type of puzzle game has actually been in video games for years, albeit mainly restricted to the PC marketplace (due to, dare I say it... the more "Casual" fan base...). Polish Developer Artifex Mundi however has been re-releasing their back-catalog of titles to the PlayStation 4 recently, giving us console players something new to search for...
OK, bad puns aside, calling Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride a "Hidden Picture" game is indeed the easiest way to categorize it, but at the same time it also does it a disservice. "Puzzle Game" is a more apt title, as throughout the game you'll not only be playing hidden picture games but also figuring out puzzles. Picking up items, figuring out where to use them, working through environmental puzzles, encountering stand-alone puzzle mini-games; there's a lot of different puzzle types in this game. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw just how many puzzles there were. Hidden pictures are all well and good, but variety is the spice of life!
Tying all of this together is the eponymous story of "The Forsaken Bride." You play as a woman who is traveling to her twin sister's wedding. But as you arrive, you and the wedding party are constantly troubled by a giant bear, who seems to be targeting the unlucky bride. Figuring out why and helping your sister out is the driving force of the narrative.
Overall, the game's story will remind you of a classic fairy tale, and feels like it could come straight out of "The Brothers Grimm." While I enjoyed the overall story and plot twists that occurred, the tale really isn't too deep and generally just gives you an over-arching story as you jump from puzzle to puzzle. Suffice to say, if you're looking for a detailed narrative, this isn't the game for you.
If you're trying to scratch that puzzle itch, however, this may very well be the game for you. We've already gone over the different variety of puzzles in the game, but let's go over the gameplay more deeply. The point of most puzzles and hidden-picture segments is to obtain items, which you'll end up using in certain areas to continue on. Knowing what to do or where to go can be tricky at times. Thankfully, the game comes with a hint system to give you guidance should you need it. There's also two difficulty modes to choose from. Normal mode will make sparkles appear in the background after a certain amount of time to help you out, while "Expert" mode does away with all sparkles and makes your hint timer recharge more slowly. Between the two difficulty modes and a hint system that you control, every level of puzzle gamer should feel welcome here. The game also has a map to keep track of all the various areas you can visit, which also tells you if you have things you can do in those areas. The developer has really gone out of their way to make this a puzzle adventure that you really can't get stuck on, which is definitely appreciated.
The game's graphics are mostly static scenes, but you can tell the developers like to add the odd flair here and there. Using items will often make the item appear with a small animation and villagers and animals are often animated whenever they appear. There are also rare animated scenes as you progress the story, although these are fairly standard. The artwork itself throughout the game is well-done: even though these are static background scenes, they are detailed and look great.
The audio in the game is more of a mixed bag. The actual music itself is good, when its playing. We're talking ambient, mostly relaxing music that is meant to be easy listening while your mind thinks, and it does its job well. The voice acting though is passable at best. The first time I hard the main character speak, I was immediately put off as she sounded like the cliched "whiny ditzy valley girl." Not exactly the kind of voice you want to listen to all game long, but it did get better over time.
After beating the main game, you'll unlock a "Bonus Chapter", which acts as an epilogue and gives you even more puzzles to solve (which is great, if you enjoyed what you've played so far!). Obtaining the game's platinum trophy will require at least two playthroughs though. The reason for that is because instead of solving the "hidden picture" puzzles throughout the game, you can opt to play a game of dominoes, completing chains of dominoes to cover pictures on the board until each picture has a domino on it. Still, this is undoubtedly one of the easiest platinum trophies I've seen. Not "My Name is Mayo" easy, but easy.
In the end, if you enjoy puzzle games, Grim Legends: The Forsaken Bride may be right up your alley. With its variety of puzzle types, a fairy-tale story for some minor plot distraction, and a helpful hint system in place, this is a fairly easy game to recommend to any pure puzzle fan.
It's good to meet you! I'm better known online as "Bkstunt_31" and have been writing Reviews and video game Strategy Guides/Walkthroughs for WAY too many years! Feel free to stop my my Facebook page and say hello! Have fun and keep playing!