It has been too long since the last time I have played an Artifex Mundi casual adventure. Whenever I have completed a challenging, harrowing or exhausting game, I wish I could pop into their beautiful fantasy world and relax. Luckily, Queen’s Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past is here to save a hard day’s night. The game’s prequel never saw a console version but it doesn’t matter in the slightest. It’s easy to jump into the adventure for some soothing and fun time.
The player assumes a role of an adventurous alchemist who has a knack for being a detective. The king himself summons her to solve a murder that has struck the kingdom. Agent Wolf has been found dead and the local woodcutter has been taken into custody as a prime suspect. Of course, nothing is as simple as it first appears. There can very well be a traitor among court and it’s up to the alchemist to uncover any foul play that might have taken place. The king’s first lieutenant certainly has a suitably guilty face and voice but it needs more than a superficial hunch to expose the culprits.
Queen’s Quest 2 is a fairy tale scramble that mixes together some Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Robin Hood, and Snow White to name a few to tell its tale of murder and conspiracy, albeit delightfully lightheartedly. The game follows the usual casual adventure tropes of hidden object scenes, minigames and puzzle solving that all serve each other in overcoming numerous obstacles and predicaments the protagonist faces throughout her adventure. As the heroine is an alchemist, she can mix up potions whenever the adventure calls so, like shrinking herself to fit into a rodent’s nest.
The game advances from one area to another which keeps backtracking within only a few screens at any given time before the story moves on. The items needed to solve puzzles are usually at arm’s reach, but more often than not, getting the key item follows the familiar pattern of acquiring several other items first in a sequence of puzzles or hidden object screens. The latter has often layered object recognition, for example you have to manipulate some items out of the way to unearth those the game wants you to pick up.
For a seasoned adventure game like me, Queen’s Quest 2 poses little, if any, challenge. Puzzles are perhaps too logical and any notion of common sense carries far in solving them. There are surprisingly few minigames which in other games in the genre can often pose most troubles. Here the few minigames are kept simple, almost auto-solving themselves with only a nominal interaction. Of course, it’s still fun to solve puzzles even if you see their solution miles away and it always relieves stress that you’re never in a danger of failing whatsoever. You really don’t need to worry about anything like forgetting to pick up some item early on as there’s no simply a chance to make such a mistake. Everything flows nicely together, with lots of incidental scenes to liven up the tale. To add to the excitement, there’s even some simple arcade action to do with a rudimentary point & click interface.
Queen’s Quest 2 is a perfect game for adventure games newbies. It’s colorful to look at and there are lots of neat details in its numerous pretty screens that effectively depict the game’s derivative fantasy kingdom. After completing the main adventure, a bonus chapter is unlocked that offers a brief run of same leisurely gaming. Amidst all demon hunting, zombie fending, bloody revenges, averting terrorist threats or whatever most games these days like to present, Artifex Mundi casual adventures always have a place as a welcome diversion for any gamer out there. Queen’s Quest 2 fills that bill nicely enough.
Video game nerd & artist. I've been playing computer and video games since the early 80's so I dare say I have some perspective to them. When I'm not playing, I'm usually at my art board.