One thing you should probably know before you start playing Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood
is that if you're playing the series out of order, like me, you will learn the identity of the villain of the first part in the course of this installment. I don't know if that's an issue in the first one, because I haven't played it, but now you've been warned.
Enigmatis is another of Artifex Mundi's enjoyable hidden-object/adventure game hybrids - in fact, you'll go quite a stretch in this one before you hit your first traditional hidden-object screen, and if you don't want to do the hidden-object parts but do want to play along on the supernatural adventure-lite that is Artifex's usual subject matter, you can substitute a Concentration game instead every time one comes up (you'll match related pictures, not identical images, so the butterfly net goes with the butterfly, the arrow goes with the bow, and so forth).
The setting for this game is a Nature Park on the West Coast, in the Redwood belt. You stop to investigate a damaged RV at the side of the road, and soon enough you're looking for young Becky and her missing parents among the increasingly-menacing park attractions. There are underground tunnels, of course, and a cabled tram runs over a forest valley, and there's a mystery to be solved, which is perfect, because you're a private detective.
As usual, Artifex Mundi supplies beautiful artwork, solid music and voicing, great imagination showing through in the weird and interesting scenery, and a loopy supernatural plot furnished with a few tacky (but fun) jump scares, complete with audio stings. Also as usual, the game's subject matter is not appropriate for most young children, as there are kids who are captured and put in peril, lots of rotting corpses, and dark, macabre events. But young teens would probably be all over this.
I really enjoy these games, which is a little weird, but hey. The company continually refines its products, working a lot of convenience into the structure of the story, so that there's less repetitive backtracking than one might fear, for example. I was impressed by the handling of the evidence wall, on which you will try out your deductions: it's accessible from nearly everywhere in the game, and you don't actually have to hike back to where it's located, you just click on the Evidence button and off you go. Finish up, and you return to where you were. It leaves more time for discovery, and there's less of the click-click-click aggravation that comes from hiking back and forth between locations. Quick travel on the map is also enabled.
The puzzles are a little on the easy side, and one or two were simple but really pleasant to solve: they had an elegance that was very satisfying. Also there were no overly-complex sliding tile puzzles, which I suck at. I always get them, but it's more by dint of pushing everything until it finally works than by using, you know, strategy
There are also two optional achievement games which accompany the action. In one you need to "collect" a set of butterflies scattered through the game - I got this one the first time through, so they are pretty clearly visible - and in the other you need to mark objects which morph into similar but different objects. I missed two of these the first time through, and when I finally found them they were tricky to see.
Steam says I spent 12.4 hours playing through twice, to get all the achievements: first on Expert, and then on Easy, since the second time was mostly clean-up, and playing for the card-matching games. The hardest achievement for me was the one that challenges you to finish a Hidden-Object puzzle in under a minute. Often when a HOG gives you that one there's a little teeny puzzle you can whisk through quickly, but not here. The first playthrough probably ran about 8 hours.
Overall, I find hidden-object games either powerfully irritating or lazily delightful. Artifex Mundi games always fall into the latter category, and this one is especially polished and easy on the temper. If I were to quibble, I'd point out that all of their games are voiced by the same actors, who are very clear but not always wildly compelling in their roles. It's a little odd to hear all of the characters from their Nightmares from the Deep
series transplanted to the woods of northern California. The 2015 List