Enigmo 2 is not that bad, it’s just disappointing. Both it and its predecessor are ports of the fairly popular Enigmo games available for several systems, including the Mac. However, in the transition from one Apple platform to another, something has been lost along the way. In Enigmo 2 specifically, the things they added make the game worse.
Enigmo 2 is a puzzle game for the physicist as well as the geometry student in all of us. You are presented with a half-finished Rube Goldberg machine and a collection of parts. Using items such as plates of varying sizes and teleporters, you must find a way to get the contraption to lead one or several streams of different substances to their respective containers. Complete the task and you’ll move on. You can also complete it under the time limit for extra points.
What sounds like a unique idea on paper, as well as an idea that is fun enough and actually pretty satisfying early on, quickly becomes the most tedious, frustrating experience this side of actual physics. Enigmo 2 was apparently built with a mouse in mind. Making small angle and placement adjustments on your pieces has a noticeable outcome on the trajectory of your fluids. With a mouse you could easily fine-tune things, but on the iPhone the precision simply is not there.
It’s the Incredible Machine’¦ in space.
The various streams you’ll be collecting include water, lasers and small purple orbs affected by gravity. Out of all three, lasers probably work the best here since they always moves in straight lines while the others move in arches. The ever-changing movements of water do not go well with the touchy controls. Unfortunately, most of your time will be spent gathering water as seen on the game’s icon.
To control the purples orbs, black holes are placed onscreen to affect their orbit. Overall, the indirect control is fairly novel, as sometimes you may not know how your change will impact the game, causing you to stumble upon the right answer. Getting the right answer on purpose also makes you feel pretty smart. Too bad the actual process of getting to the right answer can be so aggravating.
Compared to the first Enigmo, the graphics of Enigmo 2 are sparser, with a colder space theme. The whole game has a tech demo look to it. The music on the other hand, is an adventurous delight completely contrasting with the boring visuals in the background.
Enigmo: Deep Space Nine.
The major new additions to Enigmo 2 are the 3D levels. Now all levels can be viewed from any angle using the horrible camera controls. Although every level is now 3D, the early ones can be completed in 2D, much like the levels in the first Enigmo. However, some levels must be adjusted from all sides to achieve the solution and in doing so all the flaws of the game become so much more apparent.
Moving objects on a 2D plane using the touch screen was annoying but doable. Add depth into the equation alongside height and width and the whole process becomes nigh impossible. Even with functional controls these levels would be still be hard, but at least they would be hard in a way that requires the player to think visually. Now it’s just a test of the player’s endurance and luck, or their ability to find the solutions online.
Remember when Nintendo took Mario to 3D with Super Mario 64? Now imagine if Mario 64 was a terrible failure. At least Enigmo 2 has some levels in the style of the original. Those are not perfect, but they are at least playable.
If you are going to play Enigmo 2, play it with a mouse. If you are going to play it on the iPhone, stop as soon as you see a level with a Z-axis. Better yet, play Enigmo 1, because there is hardly a third dimension to be found.