When you were a young girl, the Master of Shadows banished your mother to another realm, conveniently called the Shadow Realm. It’s there that her spirit remains trapped, and it’s there that you plan on going to set her free. The city of Havenwick is filled with dark spells and twisted mysteries. If you poke your nose in enough places, you just might find the tools you need to rescue her as quickly as possible.
Shrouded Tales: The Spellbound Land is a surprisingly moody hidden object game that follows a young magician as she travels through village, countryside, and otherwordly dimension. Along with picking up items to solve adventure style puzzles, you’ll also need to locate special runes that fill up your spell book, allowing you to cast bits of magic that help you throughout the game. This adds some excitement to the whole puzzle solving set-up, but it also makes you feel like a bona fide wizard, which is something not every hidden object game can lay claim to.
Speaking of hidden objects, Shrouded Tales: The Spellbound Land drops HOP scenes your way every so often just to make sure you’ve got something wild to sift through. Each hidden object scene is absolutely flush with items. Seriously, these wizards need to hire a housekeeper or something, because, wow. You’ll pick your way around everything as you try to complete the list below, interacting with a few movable objects to get those last few stragglers. The HOP scenes are very dynamic and always an interesting, and welcome, diversion.
Mini-games are Shrouded Tales’ second form of quick casual entertainment. These are more common than hidden object scenes and usually come in the form of basic puzzles you’ve seen before. Slide the tales to match them with runes, turn the amulets so they all line up, complete the jigsaw puzzle that doesn’t actually use jigsaw shapes, that sort of thing. None of them are uninteresting, they just don’t break the mold, that’s all.
Shrouded Tales does an amazing job with its world building. Everywhere you go you get this sense that an entire history took place beneath your feet. Warring factions, angry wizards, evil spirits, all constantly fighting for supremacy. This is evident in all of the intricate artwork and plethora of relics that populate the corners of the game. It’s great fun just to look at the scenery and imagine what the artists were thinking when they came up with this stuff!
The entire Shrouded Tales: The Spellbound Land experience is a good one from beginning to end. The gameplay itself doesn’t strive for anything particularly unique, but the setting, artwork, and overall story pacing really fill out the experience. It’s also fun to actually feel like the character you’re supposed to be playing. No vague detective motifs, just spells and wizards and runes.