Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Name: Enigmo
Author: Pangea Software and Mumbo Jumbo
License: Commercial

A time honored tradition among PC gamers is diving through the bargain bin. Usually off to the side somewhere in your local software store there are a bunch of old games selling cheap. The packaging is often only a jewel case. If you are lucky the instructions have been scanned and are on the CD-Rom. The bargain bin is real mixed bag. Here you will find many awful games which never should have been made in the first place and are not worth even $5. There is some shovelware. I have even gotten one disc where some third party purchased rights to a good, but old, game and bundled it with spyware for the bargain bins. The bargain bin is not for the timid.

On the other hand, the bargain bin can be great. There are older classics which have been marked way down. It is often a little sad to see a game which you loved now relegated to the bargain bin. But, the real reason we keep coming back is because every now and then we find a gem, a great game which we had never heard about. Of course, for every gem, there are five to ten dogs.

This week's game is just such a gem. I found Enigmo in the bargain bin at a CompUSA for $4.99. This is one of my best bargain bin purchases. It comes in a jewel case. No luck, they only include a short readme text file to explain the game.

Enigmo is an Incredible Machine style game. The goal of each level is to get 50 droplets of liquid from each of the droppers into each of the appropriate containers. Each level comes with a fixed number of bumpers, slides, accelerators, and sponges. You have to carefully place and orient these items so as to guild each liquid to its container.

The effect of each item is reasonably logical. For example, there are three types of bumpers, soft, hard, and super. The soft bumper absorbs most of the energy of the droplets. The hard bumper absorbs a tiny amount of energy for an almost inelastic collision. The super bumper adds energy. Using a super bumper, you can get droplets to go higher than their initial height. Here is a small hint. Placing a super bumper at the base of a sloped wall, you can have drops hit the same super bumper several times adding more energy each time.

There does seem to be a slight bit of randomness thrown in. Different drops will follow slightly different paths.

There are a couple of other fixed items. There are doors and keyholes. In the screen shot, there are three pairs of doors and keyholes. In order to release any droplets at a door, another droplet must pass through the keyhole of the same color. You have to route the flow so that droplets pass through each keyhole. There are also dropper switches to start the flow of oil and lava droppers. In the screen shot, there is one in the lower left corner. If the blue water droplets where not hitting this, the green dropper would not be releasing green oil droplets.

There are fifty levels. You have to complete the levels in order. I keep harping on this, but it is annoying. Besides this, my only real complaint about Enigmo is the sensitivity of the physics model. You often have to position and rotation the items just right in order to the drops to go where you want them to go. A minor complaint is that it saves games to files. You have to manually reload these the next time you start up, and sometimes it forgets which directory they were saved in. So, you might have to hunt around a bit.

Enigmo comes with a level editor. Several fan made level sets are available. These are all written for the Mac version of Enigmo. I have not tested them all, but the few I tried did work with the PC version. However, there are a couple of hurdles. First, most of the level sets are compressed using a proprietary compression algorithm called StuffIt. If you register and thus agree to receive email/spam from these StuffIt people, you can get a PC program which decompresses StuffIt .sit files. The second problem is that after decompressing the extension is wrong. You have to rename blah.egm to blah.enig.

Enigmo also comes with 20 kiddie levels. Here you have unlimited items to place. This mode is useful to learn the effects of all the different items. Or, if you a kid.

If you are out trawling the bargain bin and come across Enigmo, I suggest you grab it.


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous buy kamagra said...

I can see the striking difference! All is about new generations, but this game still doing the best work in America, and all the PC gamers can support my version, obviously if we're talking about those categories. 23jj


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