Elena’s Journal: To Atlantis

Elena’s Journal: To Atlantis

Elena’s Journal: To Atlantis is the second installment of the eponymous series and continues the adventures of Elena and her team of archeologists. While in the first game, Elena managed not only to uncover the City of the Amazons through a successful expedition but also to find love on the way, the second game will have her embark on a mission to find the legendary city of Atlantis, while also trying to overcome the personal struggles caused by her relationship breaking apart. The games can be played independently of each other, but it’s highly advisable to play Unfinished Expedition before To Atlantis because the story in the second game reveals many essential aspects of the plot of the first game.

The gameplay is pretty much the same as in any other GameHouse game. As Elena or one of her friends, you will help their university students or fellow archeologists by fulfilling their requests, combining various ingredients into new items or handing over the objects they need, and then finally billing them at the checkout. As you progress throughout the game, the complexity of available items and combinations increases substantially and the number of people you need to handle simultaneously also grows, while the amount of items you can carry at once also expands.

Since Elena travels with her friends all around the world, the locations are now more varied than in other GameHouse games. The first levels take place in some academic environments, followed by her team embarking on a ship towards Atlantis and reaching the dig site in its proximity. We even have some levels taking place in an imaginary world of Atlantis, and an alternate storyline in her mother’s café. I love the diversity of the levels and the specific minigames that each of them brings (one type per location). Additionally, they were more enjoyable than in other games.

Perhaps the weakest aspect of the game lies in its narrative. While I usually greatly enjoy GameHouse stories, I felt like this one was missing a spark, or rather it didn’t manage to convey the fuzzy feelings that the other games do. The story jumps between timelines (present and past) and between reality and fantasy, which gives the narrative less coherence than usual. On top of that, the negative transformation of one of the main characters made me enjoy the story less, despite them having a final redemption arc (albeit fairly rushed). But as usual, the ending leaves one wanting more and opens the story to future chapters.

In regards to the difficulty, I must admit that I did struggle a bit with the levels of one location, even on easy mode. I was still able to complete them on the first try but it required an increased focus level. The reason for that was the fact that there are dozens of orders for timed items (place the item in a furnace, then click after three seconds to pick it up otherwise it will be destroyed). While this mechanic is normally encountered only a few times per level, this time you have to literally spam-click them and create them back to back to be able to cover all the requests, while also moving around the level to fulfill all other orders and the main objective. It gets chaotic and quite stressful if one wants to satisfy all customers at five hearts, yet still doable with some extra focus. The rest of the locations have levels of average difficulty, with the ones from the second half of the game being much longer than the ones from the first half (there are more customers and more items), thus a tad more difficult.

As usual with Game House games, the majority of the achievements can be unlocked in one playthrough (which can be done on any difficulty mode). A few remaining achievements require you to replay certain levels multiple times to reach the number of orders needed for a specific item. The story takes around six to eight hours, and for 100% completion, you’ll need to spend between an hour or two extra.

Overall, Elena’s Journal: To Atlantis is a very decent game. The gameplay is as entertaining as always and the graphics are beautiful, with clear and big icons for the items. In some aspects, it has a weaker story than usual and some of the levels are above-averagely challenging.

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