The formula for Artifex Mundi’s hidden object puzzles seems fairly set in stone by this point, and Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders doesn’t do much to deviate from what we’ve seen in other entries from the publisher. That’s not a negative, however, as Artifex Mundi’s titles are well known for being intriguing narratives with roots in regionally diverse mythologies set against the backdrop of beautifully hand illustrated scenery. Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders puts players in the shoes of the young apothecary, Tara, as she sets out on a journey to put an end to the reign of terror being perpetrated against the kingdom by the corrupted and decidedly evil Grand Vizier Zaved. With the help of a young man named Darius, Tara learns about the epic struggle between shadow and light as told through Persian mythology.
Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders gameplay focuses more heavily on the puzzle solving mechanics than the hidden object gameplay that features so prominently in the publisher’s other titles. Even with the focus shifting more to the puzzle solving side of gameplay fans of Artifex Mundi will recognize every single puzzle they’ll encounter in Persian Nights. Not only are the puzzles all rehashed from previous titles that we’ve seen before, they’re also in their simplest forms. For example, there is one instance where the puzzle requires the player to connect matching knobs without crossing the connecting lines. In other Artifex Mundi titles we’ve seen this puzzle presented in 3-5 phases of increasing difficulty, but in Persian Nights this puzzle is presented as a one off that was almost shockingly simple to complete. This situation reoccurred throughout the game. The low bar on difficulty made the game’s already shortened play time feel even shorter by proxy. Granted, that is most likely only an issue that more experienced fans of the Artifex Mundi collection are going to run into. As such, that makes Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders one of the better Artifex Mundi titles for new players who have yet to try out this genre and are looking to try something different.
Persian Night’s biggest downfall is its stiff character animation, sadly. Artifex Mundi took quite a bit of heat at one point for opting to charge more for their games, and this price bump was justified as being used to improve the quality of their games. Its an understandable decision, and it did seem initially that the next few titles released by Artifex Mundi did show dramatic improvements over their previous releases. Persian Nights, however, does not have that improvement. Facial animations are disjointed from the rest of the character design during speaking cutscenes. Even full body character movements, such as hand animations and moving around within the scenery is presented in an almost stop-motion type style, void of any smoothing transitional movements.
If you look past the awkward animations, however, Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders is decent addition to the Artifex Mundi lineup that is best served as an entry level title for players who have heard of the publishers but not yet tried one of their hidden object games. More hardcore fans of publisher are going to be disappointed in the lack of difficulty, as well as the absence of a bonus chapter and shorter play time. They might find solace, however, in the fresh scenery change and unique cast of characters.