A simple idea. Direct a stream of droplets (or three) to their relevant receptacle(s). Allow said receptacle(s) to reach a certain level of fullness – exactly forty droplets, though what that’s equivalent to in actual measures is anyone’s guess – and you’re done. Rinse and repeat for 50 levels – that’s Enigmo!
Only, things aren’t quite as simple as they might sound. These droplets come from a source often far removed from their destination, and you have limited items to direct them with. Perhaps a level will give you a few ramps to gently tilt the liquids around, along with a few sprung objects to launch the droplets away (don’t ask how being sprung helps when dealing with a liquid). If you’re really lucky, you might get a pipe to launch the droplets in high pressure jets, or a sponge to perfectly slow and redirect every droplet down through its centre. But whatever the case, your tools will be limited and the levels difficult to navigate.
Particularly when they start to incorporate hazardous materials. While most surfaces will simply cause your droplets to bounce or flow off them, some are less friendly. Thick sponges will bring a swift end to your merry stream of droplets, and must be carefully navigated. And then there are the switches and barriers. Not all of your sources are automatically activated, requiring a button be under constant pressure from another stream in order to open their valves. And then there are the impassable gates, opened only so long as their similarly-hued hoops are being flowed through.
With all of these obstacles and complexities, having to direct one or more streams to their respective destinations can be surprisingly challenging, and this makes for a difficult, thought-provoking game.
What it doesn’t make for is a characterful one. It may sound an odd complaint for a puzzle game, but when even Tetris has more personality than you, something isn’t quite right. The spartan visuals are a part of it. Black backgrounds, plain objects and simplistic droplets do not an arresting game make. But there’s more to it than this. There’s no motivation for your actions. Which, again, sounds a daft thing to say about a puzzle game, but the setting brings it up. When dealing with the sheer abstraction of a game like Tetris or Columns, we have no reason to expect more (though the Puyo Pop games and others haven’t let this stop them), but when dealing with ostensibly realistic logic puzzles – i.e. water manipulation – it would be nice to have some framework to be working under. A little thing, but it would be nice to have.
More significant are the game’s logic, or rather its lack of consistency. We’re manipulating water, and it behaves as we would expect, more or less. It flows and pours, soaks into sponges, rebounds off surfaces if it hits them at a high enough speed; all sensible enough. And then we start manipulating oil as well, which… behaves exactly like the water, appearing to be no heavier, no more prone to flowing rather than rebounding. And then there’s fire. Yes, the game sees you working with droplets of fire, somehow. Which again, possess the exact same characteristics as water. They do not interact with the other streams, they prove just as susceptible to sponges. You’re effectively dealing with coloured water, nothing more.
And that’s a great shame, as having the different elements interact in different ways – with the environment or with one another – could have led to some genuinely interesting puzzles, real brain-teasers relying on real-world logic to solve. To choose such promising, obviously divergent elements to base the game on, only to ignore their potential, seems a bizarre decision – much better to simply have labelled the streams as different coloured water, and avoided drawing attention to the game’s limits in the first place.
Still, none of these flaws detract from the fact that as a simple puzzler, Enigmo is a success – easy to understand but hard to master, and with the added trappings that being a Live title grants. Is it worth the asking price? That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself, but the trial is well worth a look.
Enigmo Gameplay Video
Enigmo WP7 xBox Live Achievements
- Drop in the Bucket (5 points): Complete the first level.
- Jr. Technician (10 points): Complete the first 10 levels.
- Lab Assistant (20 points): Complete the first 25 levels.
- Mad Scientist (30 points): Complete all 50 levels.
- Efficient (5 points): Complete a level with 1 or more unused pieces.
- Spare Parts (15 points): Complete a level with 2 or more unused pieces.
- Were Those Important (25 points): Complete a level with 4 or more unused pieces.
- Better Than Nothing (10 points): Finish a level with between 0 and 100 bonus points.
- Dedicated Dropper (20 points): Play 20 consecutive levels in one session.
- Drop and Give Me Sixty (20 points): Play for an hour.
- Respectable (15 points): Score 250,000 points.
- Enigmaster (15 points): Score 500,000 points.
Additionally there is one secret achievement.
- Secret achievement (10 points): Unknown.
Version Under Review : 188.8.131.52
There is a trial version available and the full version is available for $2.99. We are unsure what the limitations of the trial are.
Our Rating for Enigmo