Dark Arcana: The Carnival Screenshot 1
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Dark Arcana: The Carnival

Find the missing woman lost in a mysterious Carnival of Horrors. Investigate two worlds: the one you know and an alternate plane existing behind the Hall of Mirrors. Discover the secret of an ancient being known as the Evil One. Reveal the story of star-crossed lovers and stop the Evil One from breaking its magical chains and invading our world.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Dark Arcana: The Carnival
...is a hidden object game. You're a detective charged with uncovering the mystery of a woman's disappearance at a carnival where things aren't as they seem.
⚙ Game Description & Mechanics ⚙
You explore a strange and eerie setting, picking up objects along the way you will use to open doors or boxes and reach other objects and locations in a click & point adventure fashion. However, the game focuses much more on puzzle solving than the story or adventure. Also, you don't actually move your character around: each location is a still panel with things you can click on.
As implied in the genre's namesake, most of the puzzles you encounter are hidden object puzzle: a panel filled with junk and knick-knacks from which you must identify a list of objects with as little misclicks as possible. You'll often redo the same hidden object panel twice, but the list of object is randomized and you will likely have different items to find the next time around.
Unique to this specific game are two mechanics: Miles the monkey will be able to climb or slip between obstacles to fetch items in hard-to-reach places, and the Monaco game, a card-association game that you can play in lieu of the hidden object puzzles, each successful association counting as one found object.
☺ What I enjoyed ☺
Once again, all the panels are apparently hand-drawn, something I enjoy. The vibe and atmosphere of mystery is well established through these, each with a surreal touch filling you with unease. Sound effects and music, while not incredible, perfectly encapsulate the mood, and the voice acting is actually serviceable (as far hidden object games go, that is).
I enjoyed that a large portion of the game is in the mirror world. After getting familiar with the setting, the mirror universe presents a twisted, almost demonic version of the exact same setting, giving you the impression of going ever deeper into the rabbit hole. And you see them again in a crumbling, doomed state when you play the bonus prologue episode.
☹ What bothered me ☹
Hidden object puzzles were pretty lackluster. The clutter was not nearly enough to make it challenging, barely enough to play the same puzzle twice without needing to duplicate objects to be found. The challenge mostly came from object naming. What the heck is a "Stream"? Oh, it's that pencil-sketched spiral! A "sphinx"? Oh, you meant that pharaoh head that is absolutely not a sphinx! How about that bug where the puzzle asks for a "record" for which you must click a porcelain plate, but the next time that puzzle is played it asks for a "plate" for which you must click a vinyl record?
Other puzzles found in this game were also void of any challenge or difficulty. Only two of them, pretty similar in nature, actually had me go back and forth a short while, randomly trying things until I got it right. As for the Monaco game, well, its sole purpose is to replace and skip the hidden object puzzles; you know, the very puzzles for which people play hidden object games in the first place!
My Verdict: ★★★☆☆ - "It's up to you."
I am unimpressed with this game. I'm not saying you should avoid it: fans of hidden object games will find it adequate, although underwhelming for an Artifex Mundi game. It gets a passing rating from me, but no more.
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This was just my opinion.
If you found this review helpful, please consider giving it a thumbs up, and feel free to check out more of my (purely opinionated) reviews.

Review from Steam

not my cup of tea... but i am sure someone out there might find it interesting :)

Review from Steam


Taking the mirror world concept into a functional mechanic works really well for this game.