King's Heir: Rise to the Throne (Collector's Edition)
Year Published: 2018
Publisher: Artifex Mundi
Developer: Cordelia Games

I played King's Heir: Rise to the Throne a few years ago and when going over my list of hidden object games I played but never reviewed, I realized I couldn't remember anything about it. Upon replaying it for this review, I realized why. It falls into the category of HOG's that aren't bad, but don't really stand out in the vast sea of them.

Lots of talkative people in this game.

To be honest, I found the story somewhat perplexing. You are in the role of a royal knight named Edmund Ulmer. You and your brother Randall are framed for the murder of the king, and now you must not only prove your innocence, but also find the king's true heir. If you were to guess that Edmund is the king's heir, you'd be wrong, but you'd also be close. The person who conspired to kill the king is...the queen? In an effort to control the kingdom? But doesn't she already control it? Did she just hate her husband that much? Am I understanding this correctly? I'm not sure.

So, of course, you'll embark on about a 2-hour hidden object journey to find the heir, defeat the evil queen, and live happily ever after. Yeah, about 2 hours. When a game is this short, it needs to do something to really stand out and be memorable. This one's only gimmick is that it has a lot of voice acting, even for your own character. It's not terrible, but talking characters are animated in that weird style where their heads bulge and move around while the rest of the body is completely still, which is very common to HOG's of this era, but is now oddly reminiscent of those AI-generated ad parodies on YouTube.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, but how about we use our sword like a pen and draw things with it?

This being an Artifex Mundi game, it probably goes without saying that the art quality is the usual high standard. But much like their earlier game, Dark Arcana: The Carnival, it feels like it was made more cheaply and quickly than the bigger titles in their popular series. An example of the game's subpar nature is the battles with the queen's baddies: Each one is fought the same way, by solving a puzzle in which you trace a line around a pattern. You know, the type where you can only visit each line once? Yeah, your foe just stands there as you try and fail numerous times to complete the damned thing.

King's Heir has the benefit of a bonus chapter and Steam achievements, but even with them the full asking price is a bit much. If you get it on sale or in a bundle with other games, then it's one you can play for a couple of hours with no regrets. But it's not one I would highly recommend. Another oddity worth mentioning is that the game is alternately known under the title, Kingmaker: Rise to the Throne. I don't know the reason for the name change. It could've been conflicting with other games that have "kingmaker" in the title, or perhaps they realized a kingmaker wasn't exactly what they thought it was.

SCORE: 2.5/5