Game 01: The Lost Knowledge • Enigma Fellowship • Puzzle Mail Subscription Service Review
Game Website | Company Website | Based In: Germany
💪 Difficulty: 65% (6.5/10).
⏲️ Time duration: 120 minutes (average playing time).
🔢 Capacity: Not specified.
🛒 If you PURCHASE/SUBSCRIBE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
TL;DR... THE QUICK VERSION
➲ Premise: Locate the missing archaeologist Professor McEwan and uncover his latest stealthy research.
➲ General product idea similar other "society based" subscription games.
➲ Game play consists of online portion complemented with by-mail, on-hand materials.
➲ Players follow a main story, then input puzzle solutions at plot breaks to advance, linear game play.
➲ Challenges are mostly based on familiar tropes, not difficult, and could use more innovation.
➲ Story told in both audio and text, appeal derives from research-based, cultural topics.
➲ Overall presentation and contents quality should be improved in future titles.
➲ 𝙀𝙎𝘾𝘼𝙋𝙀 𝙈𝘼𝙏𝙏𝙎𝙏𝙀𝙍 😶 subjective rating: 💪 3 to 4/10 difficulty (team of 1), 🔢 ideal team size of 1 to 2.
Prof. McEwan, a renowned archaeologist, is missing. His research group thinks he may be in danger. He was searching for a lost artifact of great significance. The Enigma Fellowship has been engaged to locate him and help solve his quest. Solve brain twisting puzzles to find the professor and then solve challenges to gain trust of an ancient culture. Are you up to the task of finding the lost knowledge and solving this enigma?
THE UNABRIDGED EDITION
Though the company is named a fellowship, it is in no way religion affiliated. (Yeah, I was confused.) The fellowship in Engima Fellowship signifies one of "friendly association... people who share... interests." (Thanks, Google!) To enthusiasts of at-home puzzle entertainment, this new mail-based service is best categorized as a society-endorsed, mystery investigation adventure. The idea is not at all new, but I'm eager to see how it measures up to current on-market options.
The Fellowship's first case, "The Lost Knowledge", describes the mystery of a missing archaeologist, Professor McEwan. His research group is concerned something untoward might've happened to their preceptor, so they enlist your help to find the truth... or his body, alive -or- dead. Nah, I'm kidding, the narrative never progresses into something dark; in fact, the story maintains its wholesomeness from start to finish. But more on that later.
"Knowledge" has a balanced contents of story and puzzles, and the way you advance through the case is fairly standard. Basic setup includes two components: 1) the game website, responsible for plot exposition and development, and solution input, and 2) by-mail, on-hand, largely paper-based materials, which function as clues for puzzles. Fans of the genre should be able to pick up and go.
The puzzle aspect of the game is strictly linear: As the detective, you follow your leads. First, you need to gain entry to McEwan's office, then his computer, then his safe, and so on. With every obstacle, there requires a password (numbers, letters, or combination of both) on the webpage to proceed your quest.
Since most solutions are restricted to essentially a word-phrase format, puzzle variety mostly adheres to conventional tropes. Extracting numbers from 4 items in the same collection, for example, yields a number combo. Familiar ciphers are featured in several puzzles. While most puzzles are ones I've seen before, the final couple of challenges are uncommon enough to bring a refreshing breath of fresh air, which I look forward to see more of in future endeavors.
Due the "common trope" reason above and general familiarity, these puzzles are not particularly difficult. I do, however, wish that some were more properly signposted. On several occasions, I found myself using the hints to only better understand what's being asked, or to confirm if I was doing something wrong that may lead to multiple plausible answers. (It turned out to be an arbitrary choice from the creators.) Once again, there is room for growth in this area, and I anticipate better puzzle-writing in Game 2.
What struck me as the most impressive, instead, was the dedication of bringing a moderately fascinating story to keep the audience interested. This game is text-heavy, though the company does offer the verbose contents in both audio and written form. While I preferred to exclusively read my way through (the faster route), the audio clips are produced with care and offer a viable alternative.
While I was disappointed that the professor was advertised to be in much more danger than he really was, and therefore I never got to witness any real drama, (and who doesn't love a good drama?), I appreciated the topics the game set out to share, albeit tamer than I was led to believe. A feel-good message was rewarded at conclusion, and the journey brought about awareness of foreign historical culture. The considerable amount of research conducted (spoiler alert!) for this game has earned my respect.
Sadly, I found myself dissatisfied with the overall presentation, though I should note, my review copy is an early edition. In particular, a handful of real-life items felt superfluous, and could easily be replaced with web elements. As for tangible items that should be created and shipped for maximal immersion, quality needs improvement. For example, a crossword printed on newspaper material would strengthen authenticity. Such details can go a long way, especially when competitors have already achieved similar results.
Incidentally, after a discussion with the designers, the aforementioned shortcomings have already been formally addressed, and the current version of Game 1 ("The Lost Knowledge") and future titles are accordingly and actively being tweaked and improved upon. Beginnings can be rocky, but greater things will come along with the right attitude and ample amount of hard work. And I am hopeful that this would the case with Enigma Fellowship.
READY FOR FUN?
"Game 01: The Lost Knowledge" is available for purchase/subscription HERE.
If you PURCHASE/SUBSCRIBE due to this blog, please give EscapeMattster.com a shout-out! ;)
𝙀𝙎𝘾𝘼𝙋𝙀 𝙈𝘼𝙏𝙏𝙎𝙏𝙀𝙍 😶
⤻ Full disclosure: Complimentary game access was generously provided for review purposes.
⤻ All media credited to and provided by contents owners. No copyright infringement intended. ⤻ Speed code for on-site search: EFKnowledge