Artifex Mundi continue their trend of quality puzzle/adventure games (similar style to point & click games) with Enigmatis: Ghosts of Maple Creek showcasing one of their strongest stories to date.
The game opens with a woman waking outside having no memory of how she got there. She is in Maple Creek & a storm has ripped through the town devastating the surroundings. There isn’t a soul in sight & in the distance the church bell tolls continuously.
Taking control, the aim is to recover her memory while investigating the reason she even came to Maple Creek. It seems as though she is a detective & came here to investigate the disappearance of a young woman. Something strange is going on in Maple Creek & the explanation is far sinister than she could ever have imagined.
Gameplay is straight forward; you have no direct control over the character rather you point your cursor to locations & click to move there. In each area there are items to be picked up, puzzles to be solved & an item search mini-game that might be a bit over-used here. These aren’t normally too bad but the frequency they arise gets a bit frustrating nearer the end.
They offer convenient ways to find an item that you might need to progress but this happens far too often to be anything but lazy. To top it all off these item search mini games are some of the hardest ones I’ve done with items blending in incredibly well among the piles you have to search through.
On the other end of the scale the puzzles are fun & just the right amount of challenging, never frustrating & there is always that sense of satisfaction upon completing one. Items that are picked up are stored in your inventory for use later. Every item you pick up has a use & you’ll be revisiting locations constantly to unlock the next area of the game.
There are a lot of locations you can visit in Maple Creek so the hint button is handy to show you where to go next. It can also be used to show you where an item is in the item search mini-game & used to skip puzzles although it has a recharge timer (but I would suggest not using it as the game really won’t be much fun if you’re skipping everything).
The locations are interesting & backgrounds are gorgeous, a highlight of the series of games so far. Being a super-natural orientated game there are plenty of moments where the spooky factor is cranked up & amazingly it’s very effective here. The town of Maple Creek is a creepy location & as the story unfolds it becomes more & more sinister. This is one of the darker stories Artifex Mundi have told.
One of my favourite inclusions here is the evidence tracker that sees you collecting scraps of information & adding them to your evidence wall. It’s really cool to see it all come together slowly as you add more information to the correct section be it…the victims, the villain or the mysterious detective that came before you.
The game can be completed in a few short hours but it’s ending will leave you satisfied (even if it has a ‘to be continued…’). A bonus episode is thrown in showing what took place in the town when the first detective arrived looking for his missing love. It’s very short, lasting about 30-45 minutes & doesn’t really add much to the overall game.
One of the best stories that has appeared in this series of games so far let down slightly by the over-use of the item search mini-game. Still well worth picking up.
Enigmatis: Ghosts of Maple Creek