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

Summary 7.3 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

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

Related posts

Omega Pattern

Omega Pattern

Omega Pattern is a visual novel where you follow the story of a young man named Shaiel who is on the run from a ruthless organization called Bioagora. His psychic skills make him an important target for Bioagora, who has a history of turning gifted people into brainwashed agents to do their bidding. The game doesn’t just tell the story of Shaiel in the present, but also features plenty of flashbacks where you actually get to make choices that influences the route you take to the ending. This gives the game some nice replay value and the different routes are actually quite different and not just minor variations. Unfortunately, Omega Pattern is also quite short and since it is only the first part of the full story, it ends in a “To Be Continued,” which might annoy some fans. Gameplay: The story is genuinely intriguing and the choices you get to make actually impacts the story, which is a nice touch. Graphics: Nothing really special, but gets the job done. Sound: No voice acting, but the soundtrack is really solid.

Sonicomi

Sonicomi

Step into the shoes of a gravure photographer and help the adorable model Sonico to kick-start her career. Sonicomi is more than just a typical visual novel as it also places a camera in your hands and requires you to take photos of Sonico according to the briefs of clients. Thanks to 18 different endings, interesting characters and a multitude of clothing options for the shoots the game has more than enough replay value to keep players busy for ages. Gameplay: An interesting mix of visual novel and 3D photography scenes. Graphics: Sonico is the only 3D model in the game, but she looks great and has plenty of charm. Sound: Good music and sound effects along with two different voice actress options for Sonico.

Tasty Blue

Tasty Blue

Tasty Blue features a very simple idea, but it is done quite well. The amount of difficulty settings makes it a game that can be enjoyed by player of all ages and skill levels. Although it can get repetitive after a while the humor and sheer amount of carnage that you can get up to definitely make it worth a second look. It is also a great game for playing a level or two when you don’t feel like firing up something a bit more demanding or involved. Gameplay: Simple and repetitive, but quite addictive and entertaining. Graphics: The 2D visuals are charming and colorful, but rather basic. Sound: The tunes are nice at first, but there are too few of them and they start to become annoying.

Knee Deep

Knee Deep

One suicide, three investigators and a whole town of shady characters to question. That about sums up Knee Deep, but the focus on conversations, intriguing story and unique visual presentation definitely make it worth a second look. It is more of a visual novel than a typical point & click adventure, but will definitely hook anyone who loves a good story and memorable characters. Gameplay: The focus of the game is on the story and not puzzle solving, so expect plenty of conversations. Graphics: Character models look a little stiff, but overall the visual style works well. Sound: No voice acting, but the soundtrack is very good.

Lumini

Lumini

Lumini isn’t the longest or most challenging game on the market, but it features relaxing gameplay, charming visuals and a very soothing soundtrack. This flow-based adventure is a joy to play and is accessible enough that anyone can have fun with it. It also features an unlockable “Hard” mode for players that want a challenge instead of a relaxing experience. Gameplay: Accessible controls and relaxing gameplay make Lumini a real joy to play. Graphics: The visuals look superb and each area is packed with lots of detail. Sound: The soothing soundtrack is a great match for the unique gameplay.

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City

If you enjoyed GTA IV then you will love these two new episodes. It might have taken a while to reach the PC, but the wait was definitely worth it and together these two games represents excellent value for money. A must-buy for every Grand Theft Auto fan. Gameplay: Same awesome new additions to an already great game. Graphics: Needs a hefty PC, but is worth it. Sound: Still one of the best soundtracks and voice acting in the business.

Leave a comment

4 × five =