Developed and published by Artifex Mundi, Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek take players into an adventure of the supernatural while investigating the strange disappearing of a young woman named Kate Burrows, who went missing while hiking at Maple Creeks mountain trials. The weekend off with her boyfriend turns to worse when no one in the small town can help with clues or any knowledge at all.
Players take the role of a New York detective determined to solve this mysterious case, but not everything is going according to plan. At the very beginning, the detective that assumes the player’s chosen name is found running right under a violent storm. As if that wasn’t enough, our protagonist is bleeding and can’t recall past events. Confused and disoriented, the detective must gather all possible clues to regain her memory, but mostly, attain all the evidence of her case and return to the investigation as soon as possible.
In this picturesque town, not everything is what it looks like, and everyone seems to be in league with the local priest, a strange preacher that bonds everyone through an eerie complicity… What could this mean, and is it somehow related to Kate’s disappearance? Across the journey, our detective will come across impressive evidences to unveil a true horror in front of her eyes. Other characters will help her on this quest for peace, but the challenge ahead is eminent. Will she succeed in her mission, or will she become another victim of a series of gruesome rituals?
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek was released in late 2011, and it’s one of the early games published by Artifex Mundi, a top name in the Hidden Object Game genre. For a seven year old game, it’s looking really good, and Enigmatis is actually the first game from a collection of three. It’s an adventure Hidden Object Game at heart, any fan would enjoy deeply, therefore the “Very Positive” review status on Steam isn’t surprising at all.
This very first Enigmatis, plays just like many other Hidden Object Games released by Artifex Mundi, but with great emphasis on Hidden Object Scenes with multiple passes through the same locations across different times. It’s pleasant to see Hidden Object sequences well implanted without ever feeling repetitive, as in fact, each time players return to a previous scene, things will be easier, as memory plays an important role. Plus, with a considerable amount of different locations, it’s irrelevant to even consider them repetitive, as they offer extreme diversity in items to find and its color-palette location in the game. Every time players need to backtrack to find a new object, the hidden items will be new, so the Hidden Object Scenes keep updated, turning it into a very pleasant experience.
The puzzles are also included, ranging into Easy to Medium difficulty, proving to be a great game for newcomers or those looking for a casual experience or maybe buying it for their kids. Some of the included puzzles are the very well known mini-games we’ve come across dozens of times, but they are pleasant nonetheless. Building a simple piece by piece puzzle, rotating an image to match its inner design, or doing a little chemistry is some of the fun waiting. But there is a gameplay exclusive feature that highlights the game. As the detective finds the evidence, they are stored in the Evidence Board, where one has to place all important clues to form a proper line of investigation and organize the ideas like a real detective would. Players can analyze evidences with a magnifying glass, and keep track of the objective. A notebook is present as always, with detailed information regarding every movement one does, keeping track of objectives is also in this short detective’s notebook.
Visually, players are presented with an amazing town to explore taking location in Vermont, a fictional one, but it still resembles very well the region with its classic autumn stylish. It’s a beautiful location for an adventure filled with mystery, as the red leaves take us further and further away from the truth, or is it towards it? With no spoilers to be given, the design does a fantastic job maintaining the perfect isolated atmosphere and suspense.
Locations and objects are hand drawn, in a great 2D design, with significant attention to detail across several locations, such as an old farm, a local church, houses, a cemetery, the deep dark woods, and players even get to cross a lake. Every scene is pleasant, and as for Hidden Object scenes, they do indeed look very pretty, but lack in terms of quality, that’s automatically associated with this being a seven year old game. In 2011 barely any Hidden Object Game had higher resolutions such 1920x1080, instead they usually were up to 720p (Or less). Upscaling the game works fine, but some rare objects may prove harder to spot, partially because they are well hidden, but the lack of visual quality is still there. Nothing worth of ruining your experience, of course, just worthy of being mentioned.
Cutscenes are always a big part of the game, and we’ve come across a few of them during the game, some in 2.5D, where it’s 2D with an impressive illusion of 3D, and others indeed 3D, with real CGI renders with actually decent quality.
What is less interesting, but not in a bad way, is surely the soundtrack, that it’s just a track looping permanently through the whole game. It’s sounds worse than it really is, as it’s a great minimalist smooth track, fitting perfectly the environment and its atmosphere. Very melodic, and easy to listen, but I for one would enjoy a couple more different tracks, just for the variety. It’s still great music to go by, relaxing and perfect for this type of game. Sound effects and its environment are perfect as always, as its already usual in Artifex Mundi titles.
The available Steam version, is actually the Collector’s Edition, that among some extras. The most noticeable one is the extra chapter, called “The Ghosts of the Past”. This extra bonus adds an extra hour or two, and players take the role of a very interesting character in Maple Creek, but decades prior to the main game. Both stories are connected, so I can’t really spoil it. It’s a fantastic chapter, adding solid content. Other extras include; 6 Wallpapers with available resolutions; 1920x1080, 1400x1050, 1024x600, and 1024x768. A Gallery of 12 Concept Art Images, 6 Videos from the game, and the ability to replay all 18 Hidden Object Scenes.
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek is a great entry to its series, with an interesting and classic adventure, in a 10 hour long thrilling search for clues and ultimately, the truth itself. A solid title for Hidden Object fans and everyone else who cannot absolutely miss out on an adventure.