You thought forgetting your wallet was bad? Try forgetting an entire kingdom.
Picking up after the adventures of the first Mirror Mysteries, The Mirror Mysteries: Forgotten Kingdoms sees Tommy all grown up and in a spot of trouble as he’s sucked into a magical mirror that wishes to destroy all worlds, including your own. You’re an investigator hired by Tommy’s sister to solve the mystery of her brother’s disappearance, but you’ll need to save yourself before you can worry about anyone else.
The Mirror Mysteries: Forgotten Kingdoms is an incredibly short, fragmented object game that can be completed in less than three hours. The game is separated into worlds that must be completed one at a time by collecting shattered pieces of mirrors in each world. Whether you’re in a mechanical city in the sky or a jungle filled with talking hummingbirds and tree houses, the gameplay in each mirror world remains the same, as you’ll enter into each fragmented object scene and will need to complete the repairs of tools or machines in a specific order to finish them off.
The fragmented objects are scattered around the screen as in other hidden object games, but instead of text lists, you find objects based on their actual appearances. While many of these items are straightforward tools like pruning shears or mechanical levers, some are quite odd and it’s hard to tell what to do with them once they’re completed. The hint meter recharges quite slowly even on the game’s easier of two difficulty settings, and while you can hover your mouse over the scene to find an outline of where a completed tool will eventually need to go, some of these “hover spots” are so tiny that you may miss them if you’re not overly thorough.
Outside of these fragmented object scenes, you’ll complete the occasional puzzle, with many having a desperate need for more instructions. Some, like jigsaw puzzles, are, again, straightforward, but others come with one sentence of instructions and nothing else. If you can’t figure them out, you can skip the puzzles entirely to move on, but that shouldn’t have to be the case.
Since each mirror world is so small, the game is heavily linear, and backtracking never really becomes a problem. Still, there’s no map or really any bells and whistles available outside of the expected journal and hint button. Even the game’s difficulty settings aren’t given any description as to what really makes them different. The settings in The Mirror Mysteries: Forgotten Kingdoms are interesting and nicely drawn, but the overall game is so basic that it doesn’t take advantage of its overall potential.
The Mirror Mysteries: Forgotten Kingdoms suffers a bit on a technical level as well. While the cutscenes are nicely animated (save for some occasional graphical tearing) and come with complete voice work, finding items tends to be slower than it needs to be due to the game’s insistence on playing a lengthy sound clip each time they’re discovered. It seems that regardless of how many times you may click on an object or an “x” to close a window, it never really will close until the game falls back silent, or even a few seconds later. If anything, this makes the game longer than it would have been otherwise, and the game needs all of the length it can get. Still, making players annoyed with your user interface probably isn’t the best choice in the long run.
As a sequel, it’s nice that The Mirror Mysteries: Forgotten Kingdoms doesn’t require you to have played the first game in order to understand the storyline here, but unless you’re a fan of the first game anyway, this sequel doesn’t really do anything to draw you in. With a more polished user interface and more helpful hint buttons or puzzle instructions, this one could have been a nice way to spend a few hours, but its short length compounded with these issues makes the game completely average and nothing more.