Enigmatis 1,2 and 3 Trilogy Review (PS4/Switch)
I want to post a disclaimer before starting the review of these titles. Enigmatis 2, the second game in the Enigmatis trilogy was already reviewed previously in another post many weeks ago. So the review you will see of that game will not be a new review but instead a copy and paste from the other post I had made on it. This is to clear up any confusion when I mention that I haven't played the previous games in the series, because that was relevant at that time,but not relevant now. Enigmatis 1 and 3 reviews might not be as detailed and robust as Enigmatis 2 as these games all have similar game play. Thank you.
It all starts here.
Enigmatis: The Ghosts Of Maple Creek is a point and click adventure game by Artifex Mundi. Marking the first game in the series trilogy, Maple Creek takes you on a journey of mystery and danger as you uncover all the secrecy surrounding the little town of Maple Creek. Can you solve the riddle of what is going on?
Take the role of a determined detective as you enter Maple Creek in order to solve the mystery of a missing girl. As the main character, you wake up in a crashed vehicle, completely confused as to what events had just taken place. How did I crash? where am I? what happened? where is the little girl I need to find. As the detective you must journey around the town of Maple Creek and solve puzzles that unlock the full mystery of what has transpired here, and only then will everything truly be illuminated.
For those new to the series, the majority of the game play involves lots of puzzle solving, finding hidden objects, and uncovering pieces of evidence that will help you solve the mystery quickly. People familiar with the point and click genre immediately know the type of thing I am talking about here. You must move your cursor around one screen at a time and pick and choose where you want to go to next, whether it be another room or maybe even down a different path. It all depends on where you want to go at that specific moment in time. Searching every single thing is key to this game, leave no stone un-turned.
Once you have picked whichever direction and route you want to go in, you will presented with either a scenario or set piece that allows you to look around that specific area in search of any clues or hints that you can find. This is where the game shines and gets a lot of fun, for at the games core, this is a murder mystery game. You must find various objects ranging from pieces of paper to use as new evidence,photos,keys and other objects that will help you unlock new doors,new passageways and unlock new routes in order to get further through the game. Some items you find will not be usable till later, so hang on them!
Your character does not have any weapons in this game, you're squarely a detective who just goes around searching and piecing together a mystery, but, you do get a few items that help you along your journey, such as a map,mini game skip,evidence journal and a notebook that tells you all your current objectives and things you need to do in order to move the story along. You will find yourself using the evidence journal the most. The others? not so much.
The mini game skip technique can only be used once every thirty seconds, what this allows you to do is if you have trouble and can't figure out a mini game puzzle or you just don't want to be bothered wasting your time with it, you just go boop! and click it and it will skip the mini game and solve the puzzle for you. This is extremely effective for people who get frustrated easily, I know I had to use it a few times during a livestream I made of the game because I either couldn't do it myself right away or I really wanted to see where the story went next. Use at your own leisure, but try to figure out the puzzles at least a few times for yourself, it will feel very rewarding.
Your evidence journal acts just as that, an evidence journal, and in this journal is where you will have to gather every piece of evidence you have collected so far in the story and piece them together one by one. Some of the items you find will work in one category, such as, killer,motive or other categories similar to that, but other times these pieces of evidence might not even become relevant till the end of the game. This is what makes the game really fun because you're constantly trying to piece together the story by yourself, as if you have become the detective of the game. Makes you feel immersed, at least that's what it did for me.
Throughout the game you're going to meet multiple different characters, some of who'm are extremely helpful and others you either just don't like or they're evil to the core that are not to be trusted. I will not say who these characters are for the sake of spoiling the surprise, but they're all integral to the feeling of mystique the developers try to get you to feel. While some of them might have brief appearances, they still do enough to keep you invested enough to care about them during their time on your screen.
However, with all good, does come the bad. Yes like the broken clock that I am, I am stating this once more. There is one problem with this game that I felt happened too often and I felt there was an over abundance of, and this has to do with the mini game collection/matching puzzles. In these mini games you're presented a screen with a ton of items layed out for you to click on and on the bottom of the screen it tells you what you're looking for. So say if you see ''horse shoe'' at the bottom of the page, you must look through the picture and find that horse shoe, and so on and so on. But these are not spread out that well at all, there are far too many of them and a lot of the time it felt like I was just going from one of these mini games to the next with very little substance in between. If you have read my review of Enigmatis 2, the sequel , then you know they did a better job in this category in that game than this one.
Like Enigmatis 2, the art style is still really good. You would think that it being the first game in the series that this game would be lower quality than its sequel in this department because that's usually the trend,right?. Well I'm happy to say the trend was bucked here and this game looks great. Everything is nice and smooth, everything is well drawn,animated well and looks very comic booky in a way. I have no quarrels with anything in relation to graphics or art design what so ever. Just a really good job.
My final thoughts after live streaming this for around 4 hours and beating it are overall positive. It brings you into the world the developers wanted you to experience and showcases just what the series has to offer. Engaging characters, twists and turns, fun puzzles that can be head scratchers and a good set up that leads into the next two games in the series, this game was a pleasure to play. Even with the shortcomings I felt it has with the repetitive mini game collection puzzles. I say give this one a go if you like this genre or if you have the time and money to do so.
Enigmatis: The Ghosts Of Maple Creek is out now on Playstation 4
*Review code provided by Artifex Mundi
Enigmatis 2: The Mists Of Ravenwood is a point and click puzzle adventure game by Artifex Mundi. Its the second game in an overall trilogy and it is a direct sequel to Enigmatis: The Ghosts Of Maple Creek. With the click and point adventure genre being on it's last leg, does Enigmatis 2 have what it takes to rekindle the fond memories of the past? Let's find out!
It's been a long two years after the events of the first game(Maple Creek) and your character is still trying to solve the mystery of what happened. You continue your search for the demonic preacher in order to make sure that he is never able to hurt anyone else ever again. But what secrets and mysteries await you that you couldn't possibly fathom as true? You'll have to play to find out.
Oh how I've missed the good ol days of point and click puzzle adventure games, for so long has my heart yearned for this genre of gaming to become mainstream again. I grew up on these types of games, so they have a special place in my heart. One of my favorite adventure puzzle games growing up was Are You Afraid Of The Dark: Tale Of Orpheo's Curse,it was my first taste into the genre of point and click adventure games and I was hooked immediately. I spent literal hours upon hours trying to find every clue and every secret there was to be found in the game until I got my hands on games like Myst and Riven. Oh man! Don't even get me started on those games. We'd be here for days.
So I know, I know,I get it. You're tired of me blabbering on about the games of the past and you want to know just where Enigmatis 2 stacks up against these type of games of the past right? Well I will have to say it stacks up pretty well against them. The game operates on the same basic formula in a nutshell. You move your cursor around the specific screen you are presented with and then its your job to search every inch of that screen in search of items to be used in the future or at that current time. Search everything.
But Enigmatis 2 has a special something that can keep the player engaged,this little something is called ''detective mystery''. This game is not just a adventure game but instead also acts secondly as a detective mystery game where you as the main character must both act as a concerned civilian trying to stay alive. Staying alive while also doubling as a detective and piecing each pieces of a puzzle together that you can in order to find out just what in the hell is going on at this ''park''.
The opening of the game gets the mystery going right off the bat, you find a scared little girl who's parents are nowhere to be found and who'm could possibly be in danger. But just as you reassure her that everything is going to be fine,a giant demonic raven comes and attacks the trailer you're both in,rendering you completely unable to move. Upon waking up, you immediately begin scrambling to look for the RV and the little girl,but neither can be found. But for some reason all the wreckage is gone, everything is peaceful and beautiful. But why? it was just run down no more than 20 minutes ago, just what in the hell happened?
What in the hell,indeed. This is where the core of the game starts. You must go through around 40 or so different scenes and locations and in each one of them piece together puzzles and clues to the mystery that you must unfold. You're provided with a journal,which documents all your findings and objectives,along with a way to keep track of any evidence that you may find. Which we'll get into shortly here.
Each environment you come across makes you think a little bit more than the last one did. It goes beyond simply clicking on something to use it and instead it starts going into the realm of combining items to make one specific item that you want to use for later. For instance, there is one point in the game where an object is missing a water hose,lighting fluid and something to heat a steam engine. When this happens you must acquire a lighter,charcoal,water hose and a kindle, all that just for one part of the puzzle. It's all hidden throughout each section of a environment screen, so you have to use all of your wits to figure things out. It makes you feel smart when you figure it all out but spend too long on a puzzle or section and it makes you feel like a fool! (a fool like me)
As stated earlier, one of the big aspects of this game is of course detective work. Upon adventuring through some dark dungeons, you come across a jail cell with a strange old man who's been locked up for who knows how long. He asks for your help in getting out of the cell because you two are fighting the same enemy and he even offers you compensation in the form of knowledge if you help gather all the medallions that unlock his door. Once you agree to his terms, he tells you that you can then begin using the wooden board in the back of room and with that we'd be able to piece together all the mysteries of the park,one by one. One big detective board,how exciting!
This is where the best part of the game comes from in my opinion,the unlocking of each individual piece of evidence and piecing it together to make one long cohesive narrative. Through each section of the game you will find pictures,physical items,video recorders,notes and other items that you will need to place on your wooden detective board. Each section that you need to piece together has been outlined in a chalk circle,so it is your job to grab a piece of evidence and place it in the right circle. If you guessed correctly,the main character will let you know this by piecing the evidence to make sense herself. I guarantee you, once you start getting more evidence, you start getting more invested into wanting to know what the hell is wrong with this park and who's really in charge.
Other than the detective work you need to do, I have to say the puzzles of this game are very good as well. Some of them are as easy as looking around a room and just clicking on items that match the description on the bottom of the screen,while others are more elaborate and make you have to twist medals to form a pattern,write down symbols you previous saw on walls in order to find a path out of a maze or even connect wires to power on a generator in a specific order. This game has a ton of puzzles,but to tell you them all and spoil them all would a complete disservice to this game and to the developers. It's 100% key to play this game yourself and experience it for yourself.
Some of the puzzles you come across may be a little annoying. Not because they're bad puzzles,but because some of them really make you think and they will make you sit for quite some time and think ''bah what the hell do I do!''. Well believe me, I livestreamed this game over the span of two days and had many of these moments. Luckily there's an option to skip puzzles/mini games should you want to continue the story at your own pace. But don't get too happy using it because it takes time to recharge, so use it wisely and pick and choose which puzzles you can and cannot solve in your own.
I just want to say I absolutely love the art style and animation in this game. Everything looks hand painted and textured really well. When looking around the environment that you are in,everything has its own distinct characteristic movement based off the environment you're in and something is always happening in the foreground and the background. From birds flying, to butterflies you need to collect,to running water,everything is superbly done and I fell in love in love with its look very early on.
But with good things,does come the bad. While the environments were top notch, I cannot say the same for the voice acting. Some of the voice acting for the game felt a little flat and out of place. In some scenes where there should've been some urgency in a characters voice, it came off as more of someone just reading their lines casually and it didnt really work that well. This comes mainly from the main character herself,although she does deliver some great lines and does have moments where it works great, she does fall flat at times. Other than the main character,I feel the other voice actors did a fine job at portraying who they needed to and I never really felt disinterested in their characters.
Lastly, I'm going to end with a negative. Yeah yeah, I know,ending with a negative is not the usual way I do things,but I cannot dwell more into this game without dissecting it and if I do that, I'll completely ruin the game for you,the viewer. But the last thing I want to end this on is the frame rate, oh lord the frame rate. Majority of the game it runs very smooth and there's generally not a problem,but a big issue comes in some of the cutscenes that play,the frame rate drops to nearly unwatchable,feels like 10fps or less. The game literally looks and feels like its going to freeze up or completely crash. It really sucks because these cutscenes are so damn interesting that you don't want to miss any of the action,but sadly,it does get in the way of some of the cutscenes towards the end of the game and its a real same.
At the end of the day Enigmatis 2: The Mists Of Ravenwood is a fantastic entry into the point and click puzzle adventure genre. The game rekindled my love for a genre that is seemingly forgotten nowadays in the age of action games and I'm happy for that. From the moment the game started I was wrapped up in the mystery that was unfolding before me and genuinely interested in every character that was presented to me. This makes me want to go and visit Part 1 and Part 3 of this trilogy so that I may witness and experience the full story. If you're a fan of this type of genre,I say don't hesitate, go and pick this up immediately, you will not be sorry at all in my opinion. Enigmatis 2: The Mists Of Ravenwood is out now on Nintendo Switch,PS4,Xbox One
*Review code provided by Artfiex Mundi
One last time.
Enigmatis 3: The Shadow Of Karkhala is the third and final entry into the engaging point and click adventure series by Artfiex Mundi. Everything that you have done from the previous entries has all lead up to this moment in time and everything, including the fate of the world, relies on you as the detective one final time. Will you save the world?
The story of Shadow Of Karkhala continues after the events of the second game. You,as the detective are in search of the whereabouts of the evil priest from the last game. The priest has escaped and is planning something extremely sinister and you just know it! but what is it?. You partner up with your old buddy,Rick, from the previous game and set off to Karkhala in order to find the demonic priest and stop his plans, but you know things never go quite as planned.
Enigmatis 3 follows in the same foot steps of the first two games. At it's core it once again retains its search and discovery aspect, while also doubling as a mystery detective game. But what sets this entry aside from the previous two is that the game play is actually expanded on more than it was during the previous games COMBINED. Sounds crazy right? well that is what I said too when I first started playing this game, because the entire game, while staying true to its core, was completely restructured and new game play mechanics were introduced for this game. As uncle Jess would say, ''Have mercy!''
Everything that the developers brought you in the previous games is still here but amped up x5. The animations are more crisp and there's more game play variety than ever before. If you've read my previous reviews for this series, which let's be real here, you better have, otherwise I wrote everything above this review for nothing! Don't do this to me! ahem.. excuse me. I will explain this in more detail because it's quite a bit to go over than what I was used to when I first started interacting with this iteration.
The previous games only allowed you to move your cursor around the screen and interact with items one by one and there wasn't anything more to it than that, it was basic, straight forward, but fun. However this game feels a bit like both a puzzle game and a cinematic game at the exact same time, and the intensity level is pushed ten fold. For instance at the beginning of the game you're involved in a plane crash and you must think on your feet and look around your area,then make multiple moves in succession order to complete your survival objective. This was not present in the previous games.
Here you're giving more ways to move about your environment and more options to use than your standard ''just click on this screen''. The drastic change in game play is also made abundantly clear by the addition of a moving reticle that is displayed on some of the in game puzzles that requires you to time your movements correctly in order to properly complete the objective it wants you to complete. You're met with this first change in the series game play within the first 10 minutes of the game, it involves a situation where you must find a crossbow with a rope, it is then your job to aim at a nearby tree and wait for the reticle to go back and forth across the area that you need to get to and then press the firing button at the appropriate time. If done correctly, you will trigger the objective completion and be able to move on with the rest of the story.
In also a series first, the game takes a cinematic role for some of the mini games as well. For example, in one of the games environment settings you must find a way to bring down a tree that's currently blocking your path. You need to pull it down so that it can make a bridge across a huge gap on the cliff. Once the tree is pulled and your bridge is made, you then have to walk over it and when you do, the camera immediately goes to a first person view where you have to balance your main character as she treads over the log. This is really cool considering this type of thing was not in the last two games, and this brings the level of immersion higher than its been previously. It's a small but extremely welcomed addition that was added.
The puzzles in this game are also amped up more than the previous games as well. Each puzzle you find in the game, minus the collection mini games, are all brand new and require more thinking in order to solve them. Every puzzle I came across in this third game seemed more thought out and more elaborate than any previous puzzle I experienced in the other two games. This was actually by in large thanks to the combination system put into place in this entry. With the combination system, you're able to have multiple items in your inventory that can be checked and joined together to make one solid new item that is usable for certain situations. This gives a ton of depth to your puzzle solving as you're always thinking of unique combinations to use in order to get yourself out of a sticky situation. When you do find the right combination, it makes you feel like a bad ass for figuring it all out.
The story of the game is also raised a notch from the previous games as well. In this game they set you up with the feeling of more dread and more hopelessness that I didn't feel in the previous entries in this series and it really kept me intrigued. While they repeat the same tropes as the first few games, such as protecting and finding little girls, it ups the ante by providing plot twists you might not have seen coming and puts you in situation you never thought could've existed or even taken place after playing the first two games in the franchise. It's hard for me to talk about it without giving away major plot points and spoiling it, so i wont do that, Its something that needs to be experienced yourself, so maybe you too can have your ''what the hell'' moment upon playing.
I touched upon this a bit earlier very slightly when I mentioned the animations were more crisp this go around and yes,that is indeed the case. This time around you can tell they really went all out in the graphic and animation department, because instead of having static images with no movements at all, this time every character during an acted scene is constantly moving and everyone has an animation of their own. All environments,rooms and characters are also way more detailed than previously and everything is much more vibrant and colorful. Attention to detail was paid attention to in a big way this go around and all you can do is commend the team for their great work on this title.
Yes I know, this review wasn't as long as the previous entries, but I didn't want to dwell too much on the same things and become redundant. However, my final thoughts with this third and final game in the series leaves me with the feeling of satisfaction. The developers really went out with a bang with this title and their love and devotion for the series shines through with this title. My only real negative I have to say is the ending of the game seems a bit rushed to is conclusion, but other than that, solid entry.
So to end this trilogy off I just have to say with the brand new puzzles, better game play mechanics, more detailed scenes/environment and more cinematic approach, this series capped everything off on a high note and it's definitely a trilogy I would recommend to any fan of this genre to play.
Enigmatis 3: The Shadow Of Karkhala is out now on Playstation 4.
*Review code provided by Artifex Mundi