Review: Enigma 2.0
Developer: Freeverse Software (product page)
Requirements: Mac OS 8.6 or newer (OS X native), 10 MB available RAM, CarbonLib 1.3.1
Trial: Full-featured (30 days)
Freeverse has updated its earlier version of the code-breaking game Enigma. The update introduces OS X support as well as a couple of improvements relating to the graphics. The challenge of the game is to break the codes which lock a mysterious briefcase, hiding who knows what.
I presume that the game’s name was inspired by the Enigma ciphering equipment used by Germany in World War II. Polish forces in the 1930s, and British and American forces during the war, were all able to break the codes to read messages about German naval and troop movements. The Allies had to be careful about how they used the information since they didn’t want the enemy to know that they had broken the codes, but that’s another story.
Freeverse’s Colin Lynch Smith tells us of the game’s background: “The story, (according to the journal of Dr. Droppa Mapantz), is that this odd ‘Enigma’ briefcase was found in some old ruins but no one has been able to open it. The most anyone has been able to do is to hook it up to the ‘Rosetta’ machine which…gives you some feedback on opening the cylinders of the briefcase’s lock.” Meanwhile, the aliens who set the codes on the briefcase taunt you while you try to break the codes, as if they think you’re an ignorant monkey. Check out the serpent laughing at me here:
I downloaded the demo from Freeverse. Having tried other Freeverse games (read both reviews), I can tell you that like the others the download and registration processes are quick and painless. Once the package is unstuffed and on your hard drive, be sure to check out the ReadMe help file first. It’s short and useful, provides an introduction to the game, answers contact questions and, best of all, provides a link to download CarbonLib version 1.3.1, which you’ll need to play the game.
Having played the game before, I skipped most of the Help files and explanatory stuff, but Freeverse is always very good at this part of game packaging. The demo has a 10-second delay to encourage registration but is fully featured for 30 days, so there’s plenty of time to try it for free. The price is reasonable, especially if you think of the game as an exercise in logic training. Spend enough time on it and you’ll find yourself learning about deductive logic, and ways to use it in real life.
The challenge is to figure out which combination of colored lights will unlock the briefcase. There are seven colors, and in the early levels three slots into which they can go. You click on three lights and then click Pull, which pulls the lever to see if that combination works. After the pull, you get a result note on the right side which tells you how many correct colors you chose, and how many are in the correct slots.
In the above scenario, my first guess has one correct color and zero correct colors in the correct slots. The second guess has no correct colors, ergo, none in the correct slots. This is my favorite kind of result, because it eliminates three of the seven colors forever (well, for all of the guesses at this level, anyway). I don’t have to worry about yellow, dark blue, or purple anymore. In fact, the only real improvement I’d make to this game is an option for a player to be able to dim the lights of the colors we know are eliminated. As it is, I find myself putting fingers over the ones I’ve eliminated, but that only works for so long!
Another trick to remember is that the same color light may appear more than once in a combination; you could have the green light three times. All you can do is eliminate other colors, until you realize there must be a duplication. That moment really sucks if you have to discover it for yourself, but I’ve given you the heads-up, so that should at least save you from that one nasty moment!
So we continue trying different combinations of colors until we get the magic 3-3 result in the score line on the right. Then a layer of the briefcase unlocks, and you go to the next level. But beware; the aliens are watching you play, and will throw in Money Wrenches to thwart your efforts. The first few levels tend to be combinations of only three lights, but then you’ll get a four-bagger, which increases the possible permutations by quite a lot. The monkey wrenches may be turned off in the Settings menu, but if you’re pretty good at the game, you’ll want to leave them on.
One monkey wrench obstacle is a really special moment, when you hear a zzzztttt sound and then notice that the result line from your last guess has been blanked out. Unless you wrote it down (who does that?) or can remember it, you’re out of luck. After the first time that happens, you tend to start remembering result lines a little bit better.
I’ve only made it to level seven, so I don’t know what mysteries await revelation for the more successful player. My brain can only take a certain amount of deductive logic at a time before I become bored or frustrated. A good option here is to save the game and return to it later, without having to start all over at level one.
Settings and Tips
Let the music play for a little while, then set up your own playlist or just turn it off. It’s cute at first but then too repetitious. Also, if you’re on a four-bagger and not getting anywhere, use a freebie the aliens give you now and then.
See the punch card hanging out of the pull device? If you have one of those available and you click on it, the machine will show you the correct colored light for whatever slot you’re working on. If you have a three-slot challenge with no colors filled in, and you click on the punch card, the first slot will fill in with the correct color. Sometimes I start off with this punch card if I’ve just been handed a four-bagger and don’t feel like wading through the extra permutations.
You’re offered punch cards based, I believe, on your bonus points, and you receive bonus points based on how long it takes you to solve each code. So if you solve the code in only two guesses, you’re given more bonus points than if it takes you all ten.
If you don’t get a combination right in ten guesses, you lose the game. The aliens call you a monkey. It’s fun. As with many of Freeverse’s games, it’s almost more fun to lose than to win, just so you can be insulted by the game characters!