Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden HD – iPad
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: Artifex Mundi
Release Date: Jan 10, 2013
Genre: Adventure
Reviewed by Mark Smith

Review Score: 4.5 of 5

G5 Entertainment kicks off a new year of mobile gaming with their first new adventure title for iOS, Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden HD, and they’ve come out of the gate strong, which only sets the bar impossibly high for the rest of the games they plan to release in 2013. Abyss mixes up the increasingly stale hidden-object formula by keeping the pixel hunt sessions to a minimum while encouraging more traditional adventure staples such as exploration, item collection, and inventory manipulation to solve numerous environmental puzzles.

And what fantastic environments we have, with levels that range from the claustrophobic confines of a mini-sub to the sprawling ocean floor to a fantastical underwater city not unlike the city of Rapture for those of you who played BioShock. While not nearly as “romantic” in its opulence, the city of Eden is a delight to explore, full of wonder, mystery, and some unspeakable evil.

Since these games seem to target the female demographic you once again play a female diver in search of her fiancé, the famous (and missing) underwater explorer, Robert Marceau. Your quest soon takes you to the abandoned city of Eden where you’ll encounter numerous puzzles and mini-games that will test your logic and memorization skills, as you try to repair the city, find your fiancé, and avoid sinister sea monsters and a demonic wraith presence that has taken over the city.

There are 40 incredible locations to explore that are home to 16 hidden object puzzles and 22 mini-games. The hidden object puzzles are refreshingly brilliant in their design as several objects (noted in blue text) require manipulation within the scene to uncover the quest item. So if your item is a “letter” you may need to find a letter opener to slice open an envelope to collect your prize. And if you still can’t get into the hidden-object mood, Abyss offers a Domino mini-game alternative that allows you to collect your objects by playing this tile-matching game.

Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden HD looks amazing with full support for the iPad retina display. The scenes are loaded with detail and subtle animations, and you can pinch-zoom to reveal even more detail when necessary. The video portions get a bit fuzzy, but once the game snaps back into gameplay graphics it’s a crystal clear work of art. There is plenty of chilling sound effects, both environmental and sounds specific to your actions and the puzzle solving. The voice acting is acceptable and some of it is even good, although the female narration of the heroine sounds a bit stiff at times. The music does a great job of setting the mood and creating some tension that had be jump more than once when a Wraith suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

Your $5 unlocked purchase grants you access to the full game as well as a built-in strategy guide, three difficulty modes and of course, Game Center support for all those fun achievements. There is a nice hint system with standard cool down timer, although it won’t cost you if it only shows you where to go. You’ll also unlock a map early on that will show your position as well as any points of interest/interaction. Your level of hints and assistance are all determined by your chosen difficulty.

I was pretty burned out after the recent batch of HOA games I reviewed over the holidays, so you can imagine my surprise at how much I really enjoyed Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden HD. There is a great variety of puzzle types as well as true level exploration, item discovery, and inventory manipulation that make this one of the better adventure games you can play while keeping the eye-straining object hunts to an acceptable minimum. If you’re looking for the first great adventure game for your iPad this year then look no further than the haunting quest that await in Abyss: The Wraiths of Eden HD.