Game Review: Dark Arcana: The Carnival (Xbox One)


We here at Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life are big fans of Artifex Mundi’s puzzle games. We’ve played all that have been released on Xbox One to date & you can check out the reviews for each one below:

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Clockwork Tales: Of Ink & Glass
Nightmares From the Deep: The Cursed Heart
Nightmares From The Deep: The Siren’s Call
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek
Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood

Puzzle/Hidden object/Point & Click games at their core, they offer interesting stories, fun but challenging gameplay & pretty hand-drawn visuals. Each game so far has proven to be great value for money. The question is will Dark Arcana: The Carnival continue this streak?

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The good news is that Artifex Mundi have done it again. Dark Arcana: The Carnival is a great addition to their library of games on Xbox One. Visually it is the most imaginative yet, with a few new ideas thrown in amongst the usual puzzle solving & hidden object searching mini-games.

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In Dark Arcana, you take on the role of a female detective tasked with finding a missing woman who mysteriously vanished while in the carnival with her young daughter. With not much to go on you’ll have to explore the colourful & interesting attractions to try & find clues.

Eventually you’ll uncover a tragic story of lost love & dealings with the devil. There is an alternative world that exists behind the mirror, one where the answers to the mystery can be found.

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Visually, there is no faulting Dark Arcana: The Carnival. It’s the most varied looking of all the Artifex Mundi games on the Xbox One to date. It’s eerie locations, colourful sights & attractions ensures you really take in the hard-drawn imagery way more than you might have in other releases.

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For regulars, the gameplay is exactly as you would expect. For newcomers though, it is also very simple to get used too. The game is played from the first-person perspective & you move a cursor around the screen. You can pick up items & store them in your inventory (as always, every item you pick up will inevitably have a use somewhere else), transition between areas & solve puzzles.

Dark Arcana: The Carnival has a number of tricky puzzles that might leave you scratching your head. It’s definitely one of the more challenging titles & there is a lot of back-tracking later in the game but it never gets annoying.

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The new addition of a little helper offers a little bit of variation in puzzle solving. A friendly monkey can be used to retrieve items that are out of reach. Should you really get stuck you do have the hint button option that recharges after a certain amount of time. The game directly discourages you from using it too much & it really won’t be much fun to play if you were too!

It can be completed in about 4-6 hours depending on your own pace but as always comes with an expert mode & an additional chapter. If there is one fault in Dark Arcana it is with the story. It’s good not great, it just doesn’t grip you & the characters are pretty bland.

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Dark Arcana: The Carnival is still one of the strongest showings from Artifex Mundi to date. Pick it up, you won’t regret it.


Dark Arcana: The Carnival
  • 8.5/10
    The Final Score - 8.5/10
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