It’s reading rainbow.
I’m not a fan of visual novel games. Ok well let me take that back a step, I’m not the biggest advocate of these, though I can admit, depending on the game, some I really enjoyed. For example the Danganrompa games, or Professor Layton. These titles actually sort of cross the line between visual novel and puzzle games. Enigma simply rests on the laurels of being a strictly story based “choose-your-own-adventure.” This is a game that rest squarely on its story, characters, and art, and for me it isn’t enough.
Sick and tired
Chester finds himself washed up on a new land, infected with a disease, and not exactly sure what occurred to get him there. He is afflicted with a disease called Enigma, as is most of the world, which is ironically the same name for the forest that claims to consume people. This island doesn’t seem to know of the disease, nor is anyone else affected. Soon he meets a native named Collette, and his story begins as the mystery of what Enigma is can begin unraveling.
Price I’d Pay: $4.99
How long to beat: 3-5 hours
Let’s start with what I enjoyed about Enigma. It’s a fantasy based story that feels more like a medieval tale. Not that there is a bunch of knights or warriors running around for peace and war, but it has a very medieval English feel to it, even though it has the Japanese anime style. The art for the characters and the world is colorful enough, but it seems to repeat many times throughout the story. Yes, depending on the choices made, and there are quite a few branching paths, can lead to more exclusive artwork for those scenes. These moments are very few and far between.
Storyline wise, the game starts off with a rather interesting premise, but boiled into too much banter about the various characters and not enough hook for the main story. Granted, various plotline elements change based on choices – the first time the game lasted me about an hour, if that, and didn’t really tell me much of anything. It was apparent this wasn’t a full play through or great ending. I restarted and was able to get further this time and actually eventually saw credits, so I’m guessing this is an official story ending. When checking my gallery of endings, I’m still missing a ton. This leads to replaying the game and just auto skipping till players get to a decision point where a different option can be picked. By this point though on a third attempt, I was done.
Story or bust
Overall, the production value on Enigma is decent, I even liked some of the characters Chester came across, and one moment in the entire game literally had me laughing out loud. Yet, the genre just isn’t something I’m super into when it lacks any sort of gameplay mechanics aside from making different choices. I like a bit more presentation or puzzle solving to keep me more motivated to play these types of games, and Enigma didn’t do that for me. The story itself, at least the two paths I took, didn’t really keep me interested, and I found myself just wanting it to end. Never a good thing, but these games live and die by their storyline hooks. What started as really intriguing for me ended up growing dull in the long run. As far as a game goes for the genre, it’s not horrible or broken, and I’m sure some folks will really enjoy the story being told here, but for me it’s too little all around.
Favorite moment: When Collette smacked the heck out of another character. I lost it.
Worst moment: Getting an ending that left me with little to no bearing on the main story.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.