Age of Enigma - Hands-on Impressions
We've been following the progress of Casual Box Studio's point-and-click adventure game Age of Enigma for a while through a series of interesting developer diaries, so needless to say we were pretty excited when the first playable alpha build of the game showed up in our inbox this week. Keep reading for our hands-on first impressions.
Set in 1947 in small-town United States, the game stars Ashley Reeves, a remarkable young woman who has the ability to see and interact with the supernatural. She has a dream about a child who's being held prisoner in the attic of an old house that seems a little too vivid to simply be her imagination, so she shows up on the doorstep of the house to investigate. It turns out that the house is full of restless ghosts, but thankfully Ashley's unique talents as a medium allow her to talk with them and help them if she can, in return for more information about the little girl.
In typical point-and-click fashion, Ashley has to explore the rooms of the mansion picking up items and using them to solve puzzles. Along the way she'll encounter several of the house's ghostly inhabitants, who agree to help her in return for favors. Helping the ghosts isn't simply a case of fetching a few items for them, however. The ghosts are in the house because something about their past is still bothering them, and they won't leave - or help Ashley - until she resolves it.
The first ghost we met was a pirate who was haunted by the fact that he died alone on a deserted island without ever being able to find out what was inside the locked treasure chest that he coveted so much in life. To help him, we had to - as Ashley - actually become the pirate in his past life and open the chest. Ashley had to do the same thing with the second ghost we encountered, a weeping Japanese noblewoman - by travelling back to Shogun-era Japan.
The fact that players get to dive into all of these special universes - Incan, Egyptian and Medieval are being planned too - gives Age of Enigma a wonderful depth that goes beyond the well-worn "explore the haunted house" theme. Furthermore, the developer reports that each universe will have unique challenges for the player. In the island universe, for example, there's a diving sequence where you have to solve the puzzle before your air runs out; in Egypt you'll navigate a tricky labyrinth; in Japan you'll have to decorate a room with furniture based on a reference picture; and in the Middle Ages you'll get to gather plants to mix a potion.
In addition to meeting the relatively friendly ghosts, you'll also encounter poltergeists who are much more hostile - like the one we encountered jealously guarding the water tap in the kitchen. Although the feature wasn't yet implemented, you'll apparently be able to battle these poltergeists somehow using Ashley's spiritual abilities.
We can also report that the game looks and sounds great, with hand-drawn graphics and an engaging soundtrack with requisite creepy sound effects (whispers, random bumps, and so on). So far, the polish and passion clearly shine through and we love what we see.
Age of Enigma is definitely a game that we'll be keeping our eye on, and we'll have more news and impressions for you as soon as we can get them. If you'd like to be notified when we post content for this game, be sure to set a Gamezebo alert.