Enigmo 2—who says sequels are bad?!

Posted: September 2, 2009 in Physics, Puzzle

Physics-and kinetic-based games have always interested me even though I wouldn’t last 5 minutes in an engineering lab. Having been a big fan of the original Enigmo, Enigmo 2 was an automatic purchase for me. And for the most part, it’s even better than it’s older sibling with better graphics and more varied elements to liven up the gameplay.

With these types of games, the task at hand always looks easier than it really is, and Enigmo 2 is no different. The objective sounds simple enough: direct water, lasers and plasma to various static collectors to collect the minimum amount of units necessary in that stage. In the early stages, the game is relatively easy but the difficulty increases significantly when that task involves directing varying combinations of water, lasers and plasma simultaneously. If you can manage to successfully get through the 50 levels, then the devs at Pangea should give you an award. On the other hand, if you’re easily frustrated, then you may feel more comfortable with a hack and slash game.

Visually speaking, Enigmo 2 offers great looking 3D graphics which gives the puzzles a feeling of height, width and depth, which is only furthered by the ability to rotate puzzles, change views and pinch zoom. Set in space, Enigmo 2 is presented against a backdrop of rotating planetary bodies. Visually this looks beautiful and I had no lag on my iPod Touch 2g 3.0. However, the graphics can impact battery life so an option is included to turn off the planets.

The mellow sound track complements the game’s space theme nicely, and is mostly calming yet upbeat. And the sound effects are as realistic as water drops and lasers can be. Honestly, though, the sound of constant water drops can be a form of mental torture for some, while others may find it soothing and relaxing. Fortunately, an option to turn off sounds is included. Scoring is accomplished based on how quickly puzzles are solved—the faster you solve them, the more points awarded.

In general, the controls are responsive, and involve touching and dragging items to place. But as with the original, the controls can be a love/hate relationship. While they are perfectly fine, the objects that you drag to place tend to be on the small side which can cause problems in terms of accurate placement. Rotating items involves rotating a small ring around the object and sometimes precision can be problematic for people with bigger fingers again because of the smaller size objects. Combined with the time element, the game can be more challenging in more ways than one. Additional features include redo and undo buttons and an original view option which I find comes in handy to reset the puzzle to its original orientation.

If you have any experience with the original, then the gameplay in Enigmo 2 is similar, although new elements require different strategies. Obstacles including force fields and walls will stand in your way, but you have a different set of tools at your disposal. These include drums for diverting water, mirrors for directing lasers, and magneto spheres for rerouting plasma streams. The addition of lasers is a rather interesting one because they will bounce off any metal surface numerous times, and it can either be the easiest or one of the most difficult to harness. Again, the upgraded graphics make watching lasers and plasma particles for example that much more eye catching and dramatic, and set against the various spatial backdrops, really give this puzzler some punch. Additional elements include teleporters and gravity invertors which frankly require practice to fully harness.

Having said that, practice does help, but one shortcoming with Enigmo 2 is that you can’t go back to previously completed levels to improve scores, although 4 save slots are available for saving game progress. It would be ideal to go back to improve scores, but this is definitely a minor complaint.

Like its predecessor, Enigmo 2 is a terrific physics-and kinetics-based game where the 3D graphics and visuals make it a stand out in the category. In some ways, if you have no experience whatsoever with the Enigmo series, playing Enigmo 2 may spoil you because it’s that much better than the original. And if you’re an Enigmo veteran like me, then you’ll discover that Enigmo 2 offers a satisfying experience all its own.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (the sequel in this case does the original proud; well-done graphics and visuals with enough new elements to deliver a satisfying experience; not intended for the impatient, easily frustrated or prone to alcoholic beverages)

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