Developer: Team Chaos
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Enigmo: Explore unfortunately brings up one of the things that annoys me most in all of video games. See, I believe that a game needs good controls in order for me to enjoy it. If I have to fight the game every time I play it, if it makes me feel consistently uncomfortable with how I’m interacting with the world, then I’m not going to like it. Resident Evil 4 is regarded as a gaming classic but I couldn’t play it for more than 15 minutes without getting frustrated by how clunky the movement was. And because I had to constantly fight Enigmo: Explore, I did not enjoy my time with it much.

EnigmoExplore-7This is a resurrection of the Enigmo series by Pangea Software, created with Team Chaos. The goal is generally to manipulate dripping fluids into their color-appropriate buckets, using a variety of apparatuses to redirect, slow down, and speed up the drops in the various levels. Speed counts: even getting one star must be done in a certain amount of time. Thus, players essentially must learn how to solve the problem the level presents; then they must do it quickly.

What is great about the puzzles is that, while they often require precise placement and angling of the parts (more on that in a minute), the solutions are very open-ended. Each level has only a limited number of tools to use, but it’s possible to beat many levels without using all of them. And few of the levels feel like their usage is obvious, instead feeling like there’s a variety of ways to tackle what’s ahead.

EnigmoExplore-1It’s Enigmo: Explore‘s controls that are troublesome though. See, the controls make the tiny, precise movements exceedingly difficult. It’s possible to drag out the angle adjustment selector for more precise movement, but this will still often inadvertently move the selected object left and right, so that precise adjustment is a problem because what was being adjusted has changed. Getting everything in order is thus a cascading series of errors, and this is where the ticking clock proves to be an additional hindrance. As well, seeing what an adjustment is doing can be difficult because the levels are so expansive; making everything small, even on an iPad. It is a decidedly imperfect experience.

Flawed controls are perhaps my biggest peeve in games, and they’re why I didn’t enjoy Enigmo Explore as much as I should have. I appreciate the puzzles and the work put into them, I just struggle with playing the actual game.


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