Company: Pangea Software
Compatible: iPod touch, iPhone, iPhone 3G
Pangea Software Enigmo
On July 25, 2008, iLounge published iPhone Gems: Action Puzzlers, Table + Pinball Games, a feature article looking at eight assorted games developed for the iPhone OS. This review focuses on only one title from the collection; you can read the full article, with screenshots of all of the games together, through the link above.
To be clear, we love and really appreciate puzzle games; in fact, we think that this genre is one of the best-suited to being enjoyed on pocket-sized devices. But though Pangea Software’s puzzler Enigmo ($10) has received a lot of attention thanks to Apple’s marketing largess, and strikes us as having a lot of promise as a concept, it didn’t really do much for us in execution.
Each of Enigmo’s 50 stages is a puzzle that requires you to figure out how to get drops of liquid to flow from one or more starting points to an equivalent number of destinations. You’re given a set of tools that can be used on each stage to direct the liquid, and the ability to rotate each tool around 360 degrees to precisely aim where drops will go. Succeed in getting enough drops into the container(s) and you advance; the timer runs until you rethink your use of the pieces to succeed.
There’s nothing wrong with Enigmo’s graphics engine, which renders everything within each puzzle environment as 3-D objects that can be zoomed in on or out from at will; however, the textures aren’t great, and the minimalist audio consists largely of drips and wah-wah noises from machines you’re interacting with in the levels. They get louder as you zoom in closer on them, an audio effect that like the particle-based liquid droplet system is supposed to be an impressive demonstration of an iPhone AV feature, but is interesting more in what than in how it performs.
Puzzle games aren’t necessarily supposed to be aesthetic powerhouses, nor are they necessarily supposed to be as compelling on a second-by-second basis as action games. But having played many great puzzlers over the years, we know that both of these goals are achievable, and that Enigmo is a little shy of both marks. Brainy players will enjoy the puzzles for what they are; given the $10 price, we think others should hold off for the inevitable sequel.