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| Enigmo
| Enigmo

Flat pack furniture: it's a rite of passage.

You might think you've reach full maturity, with your wife, two kids, semi-detached house, mistress, and a vague hatred for everyone and everything around you, but until you've attempted to piece together one of these bad boys, you've done nothing.

That's mainly because most are rather light on instruction, coming packaged with what often resembles a series of Egyptian tomb drawings.

What results is a sense of abandonment, usually wrapped up in several choice swear words – a feeling that Enigmo players will be rather familiar with.

Age of Aquarius

Not because Enigmo is in any way a bad game, but because it feels ill-equipped to compete in the modern smartphone age – a misstep that, similarly, often leaves you feeling out of your depth.

The idea is one that's actually been replicated time and again on mobile since Enigmo originally made its debut back in 2003: utilising a series of objects to guide a liquid into a receptacle.

Enigmo's liquid of choice is initially water, but the game soon expands to include other secretions, each one needing to be directed into its own branded urn.

At your disposal are a series of tools you can employ by dragging and dropping them into the field of play. Each piece can also be spun a full 360 degrees, enabling them to be employed at any angle of your choosing.

Dropping the ball

Indeed, angles are especially important in Enigmo.

With the droplets on offer acting like bouncing balls, even the slightest of twists and turns (controlled by manipulating dials that appear around every object brought into play) can radically alter the liquid's flow, with the idea being to direct at least 50 of them towards their goal.

But it's the different properties each object brings to play that really determine either your success or failure. Such is the blandness of the game's visuals that deciphering what they all are is a task in itself.

Enigmo's 2D setup means one 'bumper' looks much like a 'slide', and the only way to gather what each one does to the flow of water is to drop it into the stage.

That might sound perfectly reasonable on paper, but in practice it makes tackling several levels something of a guessing game.

Given that there's no way to truly understand how each object will impact on the droplets, scores of stages have to be replayed as you experiment with their positioning – an experience that's more frustrating than it is enlightening.

Old before its time

It makes the decision to deliver the game's one and only help file via a PDF (downloaded from a website, and requiring the installation of a Flash app to read) all the more bizarre.

To be frank, with the competition that exists in this genre, to force players to jump through a number of hoops just to get to grips with the most basic elements of play simply isn't acceptable, and it's questionable whether newcomers to the franchise will have the will to stay the course.

Even the most basic of tutorial stages would cast some much needed light on proceedings.

It's an especially bitter oversight considering that, when things finally get going, Enigmo is a veritable playground, where the more creative solutions are just as effective as what might appear to be the more obvious routes to the goal.

Bumpers that cause the droplets to bounce counter the slides that guide them somewhat more calmly towards the urn in question, with the assortment of objects combined creating what can best be described as a moving work of art.

There really is a genuine sense of pride in completing some of the most intricate of the stages – an achievement that many of Enigmo's rivals would do well to replicate.

But there's no escaping the fact that Enigmo is a game out of its time, delivered to meet the minds of puzzle savvy PC players rather than welcome in a new pack on mobile. With a bit of spit and polish, this could have been something special, but in its current guise, Enigmo speaks a language that all too few will be able to understand.


Shackled by an approach that's far too out of date for smartphone, Enigmo's brilliance remains, but unearthing the power of the puzzle beneath may be too much for most
Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.