Developed by Uzumeya and published by Fruitbat Factory on steam in English, ENIGMA: tells the story of a disease-stricken young man stranded on a mysterious island, and the people he meets there. The beautiful illustrations of the game are created by artist 490. atmospheric fantasy visual novel ENIGMA:
Note – This is a spoiler free review, spoilers will be replaced with an unknown value.
Eg. At the ending character X killed Y
[I was provided a review copy of this game and it will never affect the outcome of this review]
Brief overview of the story
The world is afflicted with a mysterious disease known as the “Enigma.” Chester, infected with this disease, finds himself washed onto a lonely island, Carlyle.
As he is being given a tour of the island by the girl who nursed him back to health, Chester finds himself feeling that something is off. There are no doctors from the mainland. Not only is there no information of the outside world, but the inhabitants seem entirely oblivious of the worldwide epidemic. —It’s as if this place has been completely removed from the rest of the world.
After a while, Chester finds a conspicuous white forest in the middle of a green expanse.
“That forest devours people. That’s what I believe.”
The forest’s name is Enigma. The same as the disease consuming his body.
Thoughts On The Story
After playing so many visual novels its been a long time since I felt satisfied after completing one. Which in this case I felt satisfied after completing ENIGMA:. It is not the best out there but it felt well worth the time to read it through slowly and I never expected dark twists in the game. I mean.. Just looking ENIGMA: on the surface it looks like your typical fantasy slice of life game. But I was so wrong about that the twists in the story did not feel forced at all because of how the story is slowly built up and not rushed, It was an interesting read throughout But of course it has its flaws. The story starts off a little too slow for my liking, because of the how the game is meant to be played. Players are forced to go through Lauro route first which is fine if it doesn’t have flaws… The problem with Lauro route is that the endings felt like a filler and adds no form of back story to the game which made me stop the game a few time because it was boring. Lauro route has a total of 7 endings and only 1 – 2 route confirms my suspicion I had for certain characters in the game and the other 5 were just plain useless.
Once you cleared Lauro endings and the other characters endings are unlocked that is where the story start to pick things up with Ignis and Envirio routes, the pacing starts to get a little faster and character routes become more “meaningful” in a way that many of your questions you had in your mind will be answered with subtle hints in the dialogue. It does not answer your questions directly instead it lets the player figure things out by themselves which adds to the immersion of the game going along with its beautiful soundtrack and art.
The cast of characters are extremely lovable aside from Tai which is a delusional insecure prick, that bully others to make himself feel good and strong in-front of the woman that he is wooing. God I hate him so much. Putting my hate for Tai aside, as you read through the story you get to see characters develop because of the main protagonist which is Chester. Honestly this is a very interesting aspect because it is like real life when someone gets introduced into your life, there is a high chance of you “changing” for better or worse and this game did an extremely good job of depicting that.
The “prologue” after the true end credits kind of destroyed the satisfying mood I had with that cheery soundtrack but it fills up the reader of what happened to the characters surrounding Chester after that which is nice and all. Though a thing to note, that it has an open-ended ending which is something that I hate but for ENIGMA: the ending is very well crafted and has somewhat a conclusion that leads the reader into thinking what is definitely going to happen. Basically it is an open ended ending but the hints and clues pointing to 1 possible outcome and no others. Overall a good conclusion.
Audio and Visual Elements
I absolutely love the visual aspect of this game, the character sprites and game CGs is consistent with each other throughout the game. But the background is not their strong point, It is pretty obvious that character design is more emphasized in this game.Which is fine because this game concentrates more on the character interaction etc.
Onto the audio aspect, sadly there is no voice acting which is a shame, I am sure that Uzumeya which is a doujin circle has some budget to take note of but then again if ENIGMA: had voice acting I am very sure that the game will be alot more immersive. Especially at those emotional parts where I felt the catheters themselves shine the brightest but the soundtracks compliments the lack of voice acting really well. It manged to express what the characters are feeling. A good example is in 1 of Lauro ending where the soundtrack used expressed the loneliness he felt when character X died.
- Unravel the mysteries of a fantasy word
- Multiple Endings
- Beautiful original soundtrack
As special bonus, all owners of the game receive free a Mini Soundtrack which includes the opening and ending songs of the game. [ This bonus is GOOD +1 ]
To sum up 8.8/10
I would recommend ENIGMA: to anyone of course every visual novel has it flaws but this is a hidden gem. A very well hidden gem. The writing is smooth and the soundtracks blends in with the story perfectly. It has everything that I could ever wanted from a visual novel. Great visuals, story and soundtrack but just with the lack of voice acting.