Enigmo is a beautiful looking game. The “Rube Goldberg” style graphics are fun and inventive and remind me of the inner workings of an elaborate set of pipes in an inventor’s laboratory. The physics of how things work are interesting, surprising, and sometimes mesmerizing. With all of the effort put into the art and graphics, I only wish the developer, Pangeasoft, had done more testing of the actual gameplay, which I found often very difficult and frustrating.
First of all, Enigmo is not a game like Bejeweled or Tetris that you can play while waiting in line to pass the time. It requires complete concentration and a long attention span to solve the puzzles. The object of the game is to manipulate various objects to control the flow of liquid from one container to another. You rotate, twist, expand, and contract different tools to divert the stream of tiny drops into the “goal” vessel.
However, the player is left without any help to move forward if you’re stumped. Unlike many games out there, there is no “skip” button to pass sections of the game you find too challenging. And there are no “helps” or “hints” easily available. If you want to know how to solve a puzzle that is giving you trouble, you have to go to the developer’s web site to download the PC or Mac version of the game. When I discovered this and found that Enigmo was previously published for the PC/Mac platforms, then I realized that perhaps the developers designed the game for players who were fans of the PC version. Certainly, those players familiar with the puzzles would be able to figure it out on the iPhone version. Understanding this made me feel a little better about the level design of the game, but didn’t make me feel any smarter. In fact, I found myself so stumped that I could not get past level 8 without going to look for assistance in the PC help files.
Enigmo makes terrific use of the iPhone’s native controls like pinching to zoom in and out and flicking with your finger to move around the scene. If you have what it takes to keep going, then you’ll enjoy 50 levels that get progressively harder, with more obstacles, more objects to manipulate the liquids, and different types of fluids such as water, oil and lava.
The cost of Enigmo is a fairly low $1.99 (although I see at one point they charged as much as $9.99 for it). As time went on, I did get better and better at the game, but in my humble opinion this iPhone beauty isn’t worth the pain.