Enigmatis 2 is not the kind of point and click adventure game that I’m used to. This is not a game filled with frustrating, obtuse item puzzles like the Monkey Island games, and it isn’t a meandering graphic novel like the various Telltale series. Instead, Enigmatis 2 (like its predecessor, which I haven’t played) is a game that offers casual adventuring for casual gamers. It’s a bit like the videogame equivalent of Murder, She Wrote or Diagnosis Murder, in that you know people die, but the level of threat is more inferred than real, and there is very little true peril for the player.
In all honesty, I thought I would hate this formula but Enigmatis 2 whips along at an excellent pace, and it has an interesting story that is bolstered by simple yet satisfying puzzles that together, did just enough to keep me entertained. The Xbox One version includes an additional storyline that answers a few of the questions raised by the main quest, and together the whole package is perhaps six to twelve hours long depending on how quickly you press on through it (assuming you aren’t using a guide).
Here’s what I liked:
Pretty as a picture – Like other, similar casual adventure games, Enigmatis 2 features attractive, largely motionless scenes that the player explores methodically to achieve their objective. There are relatively few of these scenes in the game, but each one is fairly packed with puzzles, items, interactive areas and what the game calls Elusive Items, which are basically inconsistencies between reality and the illusionary world of Ravenwood. You’ll revisit some areas as many as four or five times, but because each scene is easy to get in and out of, and different puzzles are unlocked as you progress, it rarely becomes a bore.
Tale of the occult – If anything, the most likely reason that you’ll want to get into Enigmatis 2 (and keep playing it) is the story. Delivered in three ways, the game tells a lighthearted but fairly intriguing tale about an ancient demon, a mad eccentric and an innocent family, as well as the countless victims that came before. The game itself presents most of the story, but lots of extra detail is provided through an evidence gathering mini-game and by handing certain collectible objects to an enigmatic stranger. These modes work in a complimentary way, and I must say that the overall experience is rather well-crafted.
Puzzle quest – What links the storyline and provides the real meat of the Enigmatis 2 experience is undoubtedly the puzzles. I didn’t encounter anything throughout the game that I couldn’t overcome, but a few of the tougher ones can take a few minutes to figure out at least. What is impressive is the wide range of different puzzles that there are, including traditional item puzzles, lock puzzles and wiring conundrums, as well as others that are much more abstract.
Here’s what I didn’t like
Burns out too soon – The limited number of scenes itself isn’t a problem in Enigmatis 2, but it does result in a game that burns out relatively quickly, even though it is enjoyable. The Xbox One version is helped by the inclusion of a second adventure, and the price is quite low, so it’s a minor concern, but if you’re enjoying Enigmatis 2 as much as I did, then you’ll want it to continue on for longer.
Out of the ordinary – I intimated earlier that I hadn’t played a game like Enigmatis 2 before, and unless you are a so-called casual gamer that seeks out this kind of experience, you may not have either. There is certainly a chance that some players simply won’t like this kind of game, as it is extremely niche, and very low on traditional videogame features. Enigmatis 2 has no action as such, and because of an inbuilt hint system, even if you do struggle with the puzzles, the game will always allow you to progress sooner or later.
I can’t help but recommend Enigmatis 2 for its interesting narrative, its highly accessible gameplay and its low price that together create a package that is very appealing. It may be on the short side, but with the extra campaign included, there is much less to complain about. I know that Enigmatis 2 won’t be for everyone, but it is a charming package that deserves a serious look.
Score: Highly Recommended
Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood was developed and published by Artifex Mundi on Xbox One. It released on November 25, 2016, for $9.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.