Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek is definitely starting to show its age in terms of visuals, but the story still remains compelling. The game is also stuffed to the gills with challenging hidden object scenes, although the puzzle scenes are nothing to write home about. The game is still a great example of the genre though, and well worth checking out before moving on to more recent entries. Just be prepared to put up with some annoyances, such as a lack of fast travel option.

Gameplay: Plenty of challenging hidden object scenes although the puzzles are a little weak.

Graphics: Plenty of varied and well-drawn locations to explore.

Sound: The soundtrack and ambient effects are very atmospheric, but the voice acting could have been better

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Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek

Developer: Artifex Mundi | Publisher: Artifex Mundi | Release Date: 2011 | Genre: Adventure / Casual / Hidden Object | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek opens with your character realizing that she has lost her memory. A quick check of her surroundings reveals that she is in the sleepy town of Maple Creek, which appears to be in a state of disarray after a big storm. As her car is a wreck, your character has no way of leaving town, but even if she could, there is a nagging suspicion that she still has a purpose to fulfill. Maybe the church bell tolling incessantly in the background has something to with her mission?

Ghosts of Maple Creek is the first in the Enigmatis series of hidden object games by Artifex Mundi and what a great start it is too. Playing as a detective suffering from short term memory loss, it is your job to piece together what went wrong in the town of Maple Creek and rescue a missing teenage girl in the process. What makes the story so unique is that before her memory loss your character already figured out what was going on, so you are in essence retracing her steps to bring all the puzzle pieces together again. The game features a unique “evidence board” feature where you use all the evidence you collect to draw conclusions and further the story. This gives the game more of a murder mystery feel even though it features the obligatory supernatural elements as well.

Visually the game is showing its age, but the hand drawn art style still holds up well. The backgrounds are largely static with only the occasional bits of animation such as leaves blowing in the wind, but wonderfully detailed and suitably eerie. The town of Maple Creek feels genuinely lonely and desolate, which adds to the suspense. Your mission begins on the outskirts of town, but you’ll also get to explore a farm, church, graveyard, woods, boarding house, ruins and a host of other locations as you follow the trail of evidence. You will run into the occasional non player character too, but their animations are rather stiff compared to more recent entries in the series.

With the creepy sound of the church bell tolling in the distance and the somber music playing all the time Enigmatis is quite an atmospheric title. Unfortunately, the audio is spoiled a bit at times by the rather stiff and unconvincing voice acting. As it is a hidden object game you can control everything with your mouse cursor and the interface is straightforward. Sadly the game doesn’t feature a fast travel option, which means you’ll be spending a lot of time backtracking. This is something that becomes especially annoying towards the end of the game as you unlock more and more locations.

Having to find clues and uncover the mysteries of Maple Greek gives the game a traditional point & click adventure feel, but it is still a hidden object game at heart. This means that the hidden object scenes definitely overshadows the puzzle scenes and there are way more of the former. The puzzles are also rather easy and few held us back for very long. The hidden object scenes on the other hand can be quite challenging and each one always seems to have at least one or two very elusive items that had us squinting at the screen in concentration. Most hidden object scenes are revisited more than once, each time with new objects, but since the previous objects are removed these scenes actually get easier after the first go.

The game can be played in either casual or expert mode, although we recommend the latter unless you want to breeze through the short story. Unlike the casual mode, plying on expert means there is a click penalty during hidden object scenes, hints take longer to recharge and you cannot skip the mini-games. Your reward for completing the game is a bonus chapter that is set many years before the events of the main chapter. Although quite short the bonus chapter also features some nice scenes and offers some new insights about the story.

Despite some annoyances, such as the lack of fast travel and less than stellar voice acting we had a lot of fun with Ghosts of Maple Creek. The story isn’t exactly that original, but remained interesting throughout and the game features plenty of interesting location to explore. A few more challenging puzzles would have been great, but the hidden object scenes definitely didn’t disappoint. If you are a fan of the genre and have yet to experience this title, check it out to see why Artifex Mundi has garnered a reputation as one of the best hidden object developers out there.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: 10.6.8
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Graphics: 128 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 (32/64bit)
  • Processor: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB VRAM
  • Storage: 1 GB available space

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