Queen’s Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past isn’t afraid to break a few rules to make sure you walk away impressed. The hidden object adventure has plenty of puzzles to solve, items to find, and mini-games to untangle, like you’d expect, but on top of that are elements of alchemy, detective sequences, even a shape-shifting main character! You know you’re in for a fun ride when one of the first things you do is drink a potion and fly across the kingdom. Who needs a dumb horse and carriage?!

The storyline in Queen’s Quest 2 unfolds at a gradual pace, skipping the usual glut of cutscenes in favor of gameplay driven narration. Things start off with a simple investigation. Someone killed the king’s guard (who happened to be a wolf at the time). He needs to know who did it, and you’re the best fit for the job. As soon as your quest begins you start tripping over strange event after strange event. Before long you find yourself entangled in a web of underground criminals, which is probably the last thing you thought would happen today.

Most of Stories of Forgotten Past revolves around exploring the kingdom and filling your inventory with tons of useful items. A lot of what you pick up will be interactive, even just minimally so. Grab an envelope and pull it apart, find a box and reach through the lid. Queen’s Quest 2 rarely lets you get away with quick-click collections, which makes the world feel a lot more interactive. When combined with smart item distribution, you’ll enjoy minimal backtracking and maximum entertainment.

There are a few different styles of hidden object scenes in Queen’s Quest 2, most of which follow a basic format of text list plus cluttered screen above. The formula gets switched up on occasion by providing heavily interactive items displayed with unique color codes, forcing you to think instead of just look and click. If hidden object hunts aren’t your thing you can always switch over to a puzzle alternative where you uncover and pick out concept-matching tiles (squirrel plus acorn, for example) to complete the section.

Outside of the main elements, Stories of Forgotten Past dives into the unusual with a potion mixing kit. By picking up ingredients and processing them in a special mini-game you can transform yourself and the world around you. Need to fly? There’s a potion for that. Gotta shrink down for a sec? Drink up! Alchemy often kicks off a short mini-game, such as the simple but fun click events you’ll complete when flying to the castle.

You can sit and nitpick a few minor details in the Queen’s Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past, but when it comes down to it this is an incredible game. The story progression is clever and imaginative, the puzzles keep you guessing, the alchemy sections are wildly entertaining, and the hidden object scenes are always fresh. There’s enough dynamism here to keep even jaded casual adventure fans begging for more.