capsule review

Enigmo 2

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Enigmo 2 is a kinetic puzzle game in which you redirect the flow of water, plasma or laser beams into receptacles located elsewhere in the puzzle. If that sounds simple, think again. These receptacles are often hidden behind walls, force fields, or other obstructions.

To circumvent the puzzles’ obstacles, you’re given a limited supply of objects such as drums (which divert water) mirrors (which reflect laser beams), and magneto spheres (which redirect plasma streams). There are almost a dozen dynamic parts in all—including switches, teleporters, gravity inverters, and so on.

Once the receptacle fills up with 50 units of water, plasma, or laser, you win the level. How quickly you do this determines how many points you earn.

In the original Enigmo puzzles were resolutely 2-D; you had to worry about a puzzle’s height and width, but not its depth. In Enigmo 2 that’s no longer the case. You can now rotate puzzles on all three axes. In fact, doing so is key when solving some of the puzzles.

When using a one-button mouse or a trackpad, you rotate the puzzle using keyboard modifier keys—a real pain in the butt. I highly recommend playing with a multi-button mouse instead (the scrollwheel can be used to zoom and pan, while the right button can be used to rotate). If you get totally confused by your orientation, you can use the handy reset button to restore the puzzle to its neutral position.

Enigmo 2 looks beautiful. The particle effects for plasma are especially eye-catching. And all of the puzzles are colorful and richly detailed against the majestic backdrop of outer space (often orbiting around a planet or star). The sound effects and music are also well matched to the game. The soundtrack is a bit new-age—not my favorite genre—but well suited to the contemplative mood of the puzzles and the ethereal background.

Enigmo 2 is family-safe, though I suspect that anyone younger than 10 years old might get overwhelmed by some of the puzzles’ complexities. Pangea has also included a less challenging Kiddie mode, which gives players unlimited tools to accomplish their tasks—though they’re still timed.

By default, the game runs at half the resolution of your screen. You can toggle it to run in either full-screen or windowed mode. If performance is sluggish, you can use a slider to limit the level of graphic detail. The game’s minimum system requirements call for an 800MHz G4 Mac or faster. However, Pangea advises against running the game at the High Detail setting in anything less powerful than a 1.25GHz G4.

There are 50 levels to play in all. When you’ve run through them, you can use the game’s built-in level editor to make more. Pangea also plans to release new levels on its Web site. (A contest that ends in April offers a video iPod to the person who designs the best custom level.)

Enigmo 2 is a little on the expensive side for what you get. You can download a trial version of the game before you buy. If you’re looking for a less expensive puzzle game, check out GarageGames’ TubeTwist.

The bottom line

Enigmo 2 is even bigger and better than the original game. The addition of a 3-D workspace adds new challenges that make this a worthy successor to an already great game. I only wish it were a little less expensive.

Enigmo 2
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